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Fourth Sunday of Advent A
December 18, 2022
Anne Osdieck

First Reading
Isaiah 7:10-14

1. Isaiah said, “A virgin will bear a son and name him Emmanuel.” How long had God planned for Jesus’ birth? From the beginning of time? After Adam? If the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, was the plan from the beginning of time, what does that tell you about God?

2. God gave a sign to Ahaz, who hadn’t even asked for one. Does God give signs that aren’t requested? Give some examples. Do you think you ever miss any of God’s plans for you? Why? 

Second Reading

Romans 1:1-7

1. Paul says the Gospel is about God’s Son, descended from David. How can a human being from our history books be God’s own self? Or is Jesus just a name in the history books?

2. Can the “grace of apostleship” be different for everyone? Could everyone be “called to be holy”? Name some ways that you can take Christ into your work, home, parish, today.

Matthew 1:18-24

1. List the obstacles God encountered in bringing Jesus into the world. Is anything obstacle-free? How can good come out of obstruction? John Shea made a statement about Joseph’s hesitancy to take Mary into his home. discuss his statement: “This foreshadows the tension of all who will be drawn to Jesus. Is he a scandal to be rejected, or a manifestation of the Spirit to be welcomed?” (John Shea 45) “When Joseph awoke …” Did Joseph wake up in more than one way?
2. Pope Francis says that St. Joseph had some new horizons to navigate. What are all the new horizons in the Church and the world in general, that you think the Holy Spirit is showing us today?

At this point, Joseph trusts God totally, obeys the Angel's words and takes Mary with him. It was precisely this unshakeable trust in God that enabled him to accept a humanly difficult and, in a certain sense, incomprehensible situation. Joseph understands, in faith that the child born in Mary's womb is not his child, but the Son of God, and he, Joseph, will be its guardian, fully assuming its earthly paternity. The example of this gentle and wise man exhorts us to lift up our gaze and push it further. It is a question of recovering the surprising logic of God which, far from small or great calculations, is made up of openness towards new horizons, towards Christ and His Word.

Pope Francis Audience: St Joseph and new Horizons
Dec 22, 2019

Anne Osdieck

Art by Martin (Steve) Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go