Fourth Sunday of Advent

This week we light one candle for love, one bright candle for love, because He brings love to everyone He comes, He comes. So we enter the final week of Advent often the shortest week of the liturgical year we have light candles for hope, peace, joy and love and very soon we will welcome Jesus at his birth on Christmas in a few short days.

This week in the reading we look at the prophecy that “A young woman (virgin) will bear a son and he will be called Immanuel.” In the first reading we hear the prophecy in Isaiah. We skip back into first Isaiah and hear that the Lord speaks to King Ahaz and Lord asks Ahaz to ask the Lord for a sign. King Ahaz says that he can’t tempt the Lord. Isaiah then ask the king is it not enough for to worry your fellow man but also the Lord. To this Isaiah says that “The Lord will give this sign: A virgin (young woman) shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” The whole point of this reading is that we must be willing to turn to the Lord at all times even in the midst of crisis.

We turn to the second reading we hear the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul starts the letter stating who he is and then Paul goes on to briefly explain Jesus, descendent of David in the flesh but established as Son of God through his resurrection. From here Paul then goes on to state the overall direction of this letter, to bring Christ to Rome.

In the Gospel of Matthew we here once again him quote from the prophet to justify something that goes on. In our reading we hear Joseph’s side of the annunciation events. We hear the Joseph was thinking of divorcing Mary since she is with child and it is clearly not his own as they were not living together. So one night Joseph has a dream, possibly a nod to the other Joseph, and an angel appears to him saying “Stay with Mary as she has conceived by the Holy Spirit, she will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus.” This is to fulfill what is written in the prophets. When Joseph wakes he does what the angel told him.

Now the prophecy that we hear is actually a mistranslation as Matthew uses the Greek parthenos, meaning virgin, in place of the more accurate Hebrew almah, meaning young woman. However it is used to further emphasize the virgin birth of Jesus. This week we see two people go before the Lord one doesn’t want to bother the Lord (Ahaz) and the other takes the advice (Joseph) and does what the angel says. I hope we can follow the example of Joseph when faced with troubles in our lives we turn to the Lord and listen to the advice from on high.