The 4th Sunday of Advent focuses in – and on – the life of St. Joseph. Joseph’s faith and his faithfulness are seen for all in this depiction of the call of Joseph. The visit from the Angel calls Joseph to a new vocation to become the guardian of Jesus and Mary. Accepting this invitation, Joseph opens his life to God.
Often in religion we get bound to the rules. In Joseph’s time it was clear what the law required. If a woman was pregnant the man should cancel the marriage and she should be punished for her sin. Joseph, through his faith, opened his life to a deeper relationship with God. Religion is not about implementing the rules, but good religion is about responding to life wherever we find ourselves in a caring and compassionate way as God would want.
Religion and Church today can be interpreted as a community of narrow-minded people who are closed-minded to other groups and to people in our world. Often our Church community and our Church leaders have extended this stereotyping. However, we know that religion is about openness to mystery, it is about engaging with our world through the lens of faith and spirituality.
Joseph’s openness allowed him to participate in the mystery of God, to take home Mary as his wife, no matter what other people thought. This openness gave him new meaning in his life and which brought fullness of life to his journey on this earthly pilgrimage.