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Gospel reflection

December 18, 2016: Fourth Sunday of Advent

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. (Matthew 1:18-24)


We are all familiar with WWJD – “What would Jesus do?”. We have bracelets, t-shirts, bumper stickers and other ad campaigns all around. Common stuff, right? And if ever asked….I have some clarity on the answer to the question “What would Mary do?”. That’s easy – Mary would say yes! But Joseph….do I ever think much about what JOSEPH would do???
I know so little about Joseph and yet I can still make a list of some things that would answer that question. Joseph would quietly stay with Mary. Joseph would protect and serve his family. Joseph would be silent in the face of public gossip and questioning. Joseph would help Mary be brave and help Jesus grow up to be a young man. Joseph was a man of deep faith and humility. Joseph was present and this presence was his consent to God’s will in his life.


Find a way to serve “behind the scenes” this week – in a way that is important but somewhat quiet, unknown and in the background. Think about how that feels and what it means in our world.

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Alice Shelton

Providence Associate Alice Shelton lives in Indianapolis with her husband John. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and enjoys her work as director of business services at Marian University.

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