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Sunday, December 22, 2013

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 24:1-6
Matthew 1:18-24

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silent night

"Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife." —Matthew 1:20

With all the noise and hype of Christmas, Jesus the Christ has a hard time being noticed. A baby, however, usually can attract some attention, even if overshadowed by Madison Avenue and Santa Claus. Even Mary having a baby in a stable will at least get an honorable mention. Additionally, the shepherds and the kings quaintly fit our desire for fantasy.

However, Joseph just doesn't rate. For one thing, he's quiet. In fact, we don't have even one word of Joseph recorded in Scriptures. He's described as "an upright man" (Mt 1:19). That's certainly not a newsworthy story. He just doesn't fit into a commercialized Christmas. That's just the person we need: someone to quiet us down and make us realize we've been chosen out of this world (Jn 15:19).

Therefore we too shouldn't fit so easily into the world's commercialized Christmas. We live in a culture which has everything but quiet peace and uncompromised commitment. Jesus wants to give us a "Joseph-Christmas" present. "For when peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful Word from heaven's royal throne bounded" (Wis 18:14-15). Maybe if Christmas became more of a "silent night," it might become a more holy one.

Prayer:  Lord, quiet my soul like a weaned child on its mother's lap (Ps 131:2).

Promise:  "...the gospel concerning His Son, Who was descended from David according to the flesh but was made Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness, by His resurrection from the dead." —Rm 1:3-4

Praise:  "O King of all the nations, the only Joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature You fashioned from the dust."

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2013

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