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Advent Tuesday 3 - Actions speak louder than words

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Readings: Jeremiah 23:5-8; Psalm 71; Matthew 1:18-24

'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid.' It is often said that actions speak louder than words. An overdone proverb perhaps, but nevertheless a wise one. St Joseph shows the truth of this proverb in today’s gospel. Joseph has a dream – like the Joseph of the Old Testament. In this dream an angel appears to him and tells him not to be afraid and to take Mary as his wife, for the son she is to bear is from the Holy Spirit. Joseph arises and is obedient to the angel’s command. He accepts the will of God and seeks wholeheartedly to follow it. This reminds us of the Lord’s later teaching in the Gospels: "it is not those who say ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of the Father". St Joseph is for us a perfect example of this.

Today’s gospel passage has sometimes been seen to parallel the annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke. In this regard Pope John Paul II wrote that, with regard to what God asked of him through the angel, Joseph showed his readiness of will like that of Mary. In this sense, the words of Elizabeth spoken to Mary at the Visitation, “blessed is she who believed”, can be referred to Joseph as well. What Joseph did, the late pope remarks, ‘is the clearest “obedience of faith”’ (Redemptoris Custos 3 & 4).


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