In our Gospel today, we meet St Joseph.
by Rev Deacon Michael Kennedy
Homily for 4 th Sunday of Advent Year A 17 18 December 2022
Today we come to the final Sunday of Advent- we continue to journey in Silence with
the Lord Jesus as we get ourselves ready for these last few days before we come to
the Feast of Christmas.
In our Gospel today we meet St Joseph.
Joseph who we are told was a man of honour. And yet he was now faced with a
dilemma. The person he was to marry was found to be with child. In Jewish Society
this was frowned upon and the not only was it frowned upon, it was also dangerous.
Both Joseph and Mary faced the prospect of been publicly humiliated and not only
that, Mary was in danger of being killed for bearing a child out of wedlock.
What to do?
But then we are told that Joseph was given the answer, in a dream he is told that the
child that Mary is carrying has been conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and
that Joseph should not be afraid to take Mary home as his wife. For this Child that
she carries is the fulfilment of what the prophet foretold, “He is Emmanuel, God is
And Joseph did what the Angel told him to do, he took Mary as his wife.
Today we give thanks for the witness and the example of St Joseph.
He is the Silent Witness in the Gospels- note in this account and in subsequent
accounts in those Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke’s gospel, Joseph says
nothing- but is obedient to the message given him by the Lord through the voice of
Our theme during Advent has been In Silence with Jesus. So let us learn from Saint
Joseph how to cultivate spaces for silence in which another Word can emerge, that
is, Jesus, the Word: that of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, that Jesus brings.
Pope Francis speaking about St Joseph tells us this “I have great love for St. Joseph
because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of St.
Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the church.”
The thing is, he said, sleep and dreams are very important in the few mentions of St.
Joseph in the Gospel. An angel comes to him in a dream to tell him not to be afraid
to take Mary as his wife; later, an angel comes to him in a dream to tell him to flee to
Egypt with Mary and the baby Jesus, because Herod wants to kill the child.
Today let us place our needs into the hands of St Joseph as we move into these final
days of preparation before we come together next weekend to celebrate Christmas
And as we prepare let us remember also that the greatest way to prepare for the
Feast of Christmas is, in the words of John the Baptist, Prepare the Way for the
Lord”. We can do this in one very tangible way. By Celebrating the Sacrament of
Reconciliation. Our Advent colour is Purple, our 4 th Candle is Purple, Purple reminds
us that this season of Advent is also a season of penance. The essence of Penance
is repentance, the essence of penance is conversion, what the Greeks call Metonia,
turning away from Sin and turning back to God. All of us are weak, all of us are
sinners. And its because of this that Christ left us a special Sacrament, the
Sacrament of Reconciliation.
What better way to prepare for Christmas then to celebrate that Sacrament of the
Lords love and forgiveness, that sacrament of mercy, that Sacrament of Healing. As
a parish we can do this each weekend but as we draw to the end of the Season we
have another opportunity as a parish to celebrate together on Thursday evening at
7pm this week.
Prayer and Penance, Advent is a Season of Preparation.
Be Silent with the Lord, Prayerful and Penitential and all of us will be well prepared.