Saturday, December 17, 2016

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent

Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love…

This heart-warming song by George Strait continues:

Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then; It’s love without end. Amen!

This song often times reminds me that in my life, I never really experienced the love of my father, even though I sincerely believe he loved me. I certainly had important father figures in my life for which I will always be grateful. Great dads are such a wonderful blessing and gift from God.

As people of faith, do we look to the example of St. Joseph as the kind of dad God wants us to be? And we can ask today, do we seek a personal relationship with God as our Father?

Arriving at this last Sunday in Advent focuses us on the quickening pace to Christmas Day. Today we hear Matthew’s account of how the birth of Jesus came about. The verses we read today focus on Joseph and the role he plays in the Nativity story. Some refer to this Gospel as the annunciation of Joseph and this only appears in the Gospel of Matthew.

Joseph certainly had his world turned upside down by the news that Mary was “with child”. Joseph and Mary were betrothed but not yet living together as husband and wife. Joseph loved Mary dearly, but how could any human accept this news? She is pregnant through the power of Holy Spirit? At first Joseph must have thought, what a cruel joke. He could have had Mary stoned to death, according to the law as described in Deuteronomy. But St. Matthew records that he is a righteous man and out of love for Mary, he does not want her exposed to shame. He would go away, quietly.

But wait, Joseph is visited by the angel of the Lord. The angel explains everything to Joseph and he believes. What a powerful visit that must have been. Nothing else is known of that visit. We do know that Joseph accepts, believes and trusts and took Mary into his home. And he loved her and cared for her as he did for Jesus.

What a wonderful example of Christian fatherhood. Men, is St. Joseph a role model for us; especially those of us who are dads? We would be well advised to turn to him as our example and our powerful intercessor.

Christian fathers are called to be the spiritual leader of the family. Christian fathers must be loving role models for their children of a man who is in love with God. Christian fathers must be in the pews every week with their children. And Christian fathers are called to love our children by loving their mothers; and that includes any all situations that we find ourselves in today.  Fathers, let your children know that you still love their mom because God indeed calls us to love, no matter what.

In this last week of Advent, all of us can use this Gospel as our daily preparation for Christmas. Reread this Gospel and pray with this Gospel as we contemplate the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. Fathers; read this Gospel to your children and grand-children. As a father, share with them the example of St. Joseph and explain that God is their Father, our Father, who loves us beyond our ability to understand.

And in this week ahead, as a family, attend one of the times offered for Reconciliation. Our children will be more open to going to Confession when they see their parents, especially dad, going to Confession too.

Every day this week, in your homes and where you meet people, encourage others to be joyful as Christmas day approaches. Remind them that “God with us” is coming again.

So let me tell you a secret about a Father’s love:

God IS with us and that is a love without end. Amen!

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