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Let us go Rejoicing and Do Not be Afraid | Fourth Sunday of Advent

by Fr. Jason Laguerta

Merry Christmas everyone from all of us here the team of Dominus Est. I am Fr. Jason of Dominus Est Advent Series “Let us Go Rejoicing!”

Finally, we have come to the last Sunday of Advent and the rejoicing now intensifies. “Let us go rejoicing” was the responsorial psalm during the first Sunday of Advent and this rejoicing continues. But rejoicing is coming very close because our joy is not an emotion. Our joy is not a feeling. It is not something fleeting or temporary because joy is a person. Joy to the world is about the birth of Jesus. So we say this Christmas, “let us go continuously rejoicing” or better yet “let us go find joy in our heart, in our family, in our midst because Jesus is born.”

The last Sunday of Advent, brings us to two characters. In the first reading, the character of Ahaz. In the gospel, with hear about the dream of St. Joseph. The character of Ahaz is one of wickedness. He was an evil king of the land of Judah. The Lord told him to ask for a sign meaning “just come to my help, just come to me and I will assist you… I will defeat your enemies.” But Ahaz would not want to do it; he would rather want to rely on himself in his own power. He did not want to trust in God.

Joseph, on the other hand, he was perplexed with the news that Mary was carrying a child in her womb and he knew very well that he was not the father. There was fear, there was anxiety, there was trouble in his heart and so he slept it off. Friends, sometimes the burden is too much to carry. It is better that we take a pause, we take a rest. We sleep it off like Joseph not because of duty or responsibility, not because we are giving up but we need to pause to stop so that we can dream.

Pope Francis said we must always dream like St. Joseph. When he came to the Philippines in 2015, he related this very personal story how he put a note under the image of the sleeping St. Joseph in order to help him in his trials and hardships and his troubles. And when he wakes up, these troubles maybe not, maybe they are not gone but these troubles are given a new perspective. For Pope Francis the sleeping St. Joseph is not the image of a man who has abandoned his responsibility. The image of the sleeping St. Joseph is the man who knows how to rely and trust in the Lord unlike Ahaz of the first reading, Joseph trusted everything to the Lord. He took Mary as his wife and he named Jesus as his son.

Too often we hear about this, Joseph did not have any speaking line, did not say a word in the entire Bible, I beg to disagree. Joseph had a dialogue in the Bible and what is that, he named Jesus. In the Jewish culture, it is the father who names the child. So the Bible may not give us a dialogue, a sentence coming from Joseph but the fact of the matter is he did, he named Jesus. He named Jesus and accepted him as his son.

Friends in the Lord, it is almost Christmas, let us turn to St. Joseph. Let us dream, let us take a pause from the business of our Christmas preparations. Let us be like St. Joseph let us dream and let us listen to the invitation of the angel, do not be afraid, do not be troubled, have faith in the Lord. The Messiah is about to come. He is about to be born. In Mary’s womb, he’s about to see the world, to see our human condition. Like St. Joseph, let us dream for a better family, for a better future, for the children, for a better humanity.

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