MT. 1:18-24




Modern couples today proudly announce: “We are pregnant!,” thankfully recognizing the responsibilities of both the mom and dad in anticipating the coming birth of their child. In the case of Mary and Joseph, the announcement came as a surprise to both. Mary tremblingly blurted out her confusion, but later when she understood the angel’s words, we see her singing joyfully her Magnificat! With Joseph, it was a big consternation – a feeling of betrayal and desolation. Good that before he slept that night, he probably prayed for light, which came to him later in a dream.


Unlike Mary, Joseph did not say anything; no sleep-talking here! Waking up from a refreshing dream, he merely took the angel at his word and happily took Mary as wife. He took the child of Mary as his own, proud to be his father on earth.


How easy it is to obey if we know the rules, if there is parental guidance, or clear leadership. But obeying just because you dreamt of an angel? How difficult it must have been for Joseph to tell that to his family. It took great faith, not dissimilar to the faith exercised by Abraham, Moses, and Noah of the Old Testament. Joseph joined these men of God, as Mary did, in obeying out of faith in the God who is truth and does not deceive.


To obey a clear and “expressed will” of God is easy, like complying with the Ten Commandments. But what about the “hidden” will of God? Isn’t it more difficult to embrace obedience when you are under the veil of sickness you cannot explain, a devastating loss, a cherished bond now broken, or the destruction of things you hold dear? Obedience under these circumstances demands faith, a strong faith that God’s voice resounds in unexpected events of life.


This last Sunday of Advent prepares our hearts to receive Jesus by calling us to prepare obedient hearts. Joseph is our model in what St. Francis de Sales calls “obedience to events.” We obey rules, prescriptions, commands, and orders for these are clearly understood. But since we cannot manipulate all the events of our lives, there is resistance when what things do not go as we planned or as we wished. Many times though, these events are the voice of God calling us to do something heroic – to believe without conditions, to place all our trust in the hand of God, and to believe that he knows what is best.


In what surprising or unlikely events in your life today does God seem to be speaking to you? Let us ask St. Joseph to teach and lead us to obey the unfolding events of our lives which point us to God’s will.