4th Sunday of Advent

First reading: Is. 7:10–14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.

Second reading: Rm. 1:1–7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel: Mt. 1:18–24

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.

In other words 

Fr. Glenn Paul Gomez, SVD (Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City)

Today is the fourth and the last Sunday of Advent. Next Sunday is Jesus’ birthday and a new season—Christmas Season—in our liturgical calendar.

Pope Francis declared last year as Year of St. Joseph and wrote an Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” (With a Father’s Heart). It recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church.

On this third Sambang Gabi, the Gospel narrates how Joseph wanted to divorce Mary quietly, but an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and changed his decision. He took Mary as his wife into his home.

This particular Gospel about Joseph enumerates his many good qualities. For Pope Francis, St. Joseph embodies the ideal earth father: humble, patient, loving, provider, protector… “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet, and hidden presence” who played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

I’ve been praying for the healing of the “macho image” of men, particular the macho image of male Filipinos. As a Christian nation, Filipinos tolerate men with mistresses, vices, and other unethical behavior as leaders both in the church and government.

We continue asking the guidance of St. Joseph to help every male in the world, particularly Filipinos, to imitate him. This year, 2022, I turned “dual citizen”—Filipino citizen and senior citizen. Yesterday, December 17, our SVD Handog Class 1988 celebrated our 34th priestly anniversary. Yesterday was also our Dad’s (Romulo I. Gomez Sr.) 21st death anniversary.

We claim, in the powerful name of Jesus, the total healing of the “macho image” of men. Let’s ask the intercession of the Patron of the Universal Church, St. Joseph. Pope Francis composed a prayer addressed to him, and so we pray:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer.
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

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