FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
”Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not even if your whole world seems upset. If you find that you have wandered away from the shelter of God, lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply.”
The quest for peace in our contemporary world today has been arbitrarily conjectured to be dependent on personal achievements and possessions.
However, there are many who are successful and own a lot of wealth, yet are not at peace with themselves, leading to suicides, depressions, anxieties, addiction to alcohol and drugs in our societies.
This means that the actuality of peace is in Christ Jesus. So, in the last lap of our Advent journey, we light the ”Angels Candle” which highlights the greatest gift from God: which is PEACE. The angels echoed, ” Peace on earth...Goodwill to men.” Without Christ, our quest for peace is futile. He is the Prince of Peace. At the same time, the attainment of peace is a sequel to total reliance and trustful obedience to the will of God.
The Church gives us the stark contrast between King Ahaz and Joseph: each faced with a difficult situation. Whereas, the former relied on his own wit and scheme, the later absolutely relied on God alone and totally trusted Him.
In the first reading, King Ahaz got himself in a fix when he had planned to seek an alliance with a pagan nation, Assyria, to fight his enemies, instead of trusting and relying on God.
So, the Prophet Isaiah gave him the sign of ”Emmanuel - God with us” to encourage him to have faith in Yahweh and not to ally himself with Assyria: they don't have to act as if God has left them alone. But he wouldn't listen, and was determined to go ahead with the alliance.
In his attempt to refuse, he gave an excuse that it would be ”tempting God.” The consequence of his decision was the overthrow of his Kingdom and the peace of the people taken away from them.
Sisters and Brothers in Christ, sometimes when life presents overwhelming challenges to us, we behave like King Ahaz: we want to be in control of our decision making without seeking God’s help. We often doubt God. We think God is slow in action. We needlessly end up compounding our situation by stirring our waters of peace. If we really desire peace we must eschew our ”Ahaz attitudes and behaviors.”
So, Paul, in the second reading, places a premium on the origin and source of Jesus Christ. He emphasizes that He is the descendant of David. He has been revealed and established by the Father as a son of God in power. This means that His birth brings everything good from God the Father - including peace.
That is why the Psalmist echoes, ”Let the Lord enter; He is the King of glory.” (Ps. 24).
In conclusion, our gospel reading presents Joseph as a noble example and a model of Christian virtues. He was heckled with a very difficult life challenging situation, but he totally relied on God and trusted God absolutely. Allowing the will of God to take place.
Indeed, it is by his faith and obedience that the birth of Christ is made a reality for us. Just imagine if he had behaved and acted like King Ahaz - would we have had our Prince of Peace?
In life it takes one person’s sacrifice and love to make the world a better place to live in. Somebody’s peace (success, happiness, joy, progress and breakthrough) is dependent on you. Like Joseph, just allow it to flow! Let us live and act in peace, but not in pieces!
Peace and joy to you and your family. Enjoy the Christmas chills. Enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts.
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.