Today’s readings are a demonstration of the imminence of the coming of the Son of God in the world as fulfillment of God’s promise. Two contradictory attitudes are however at display with regard to that fulfillment: on one hand we see the disobedience of king Ahaz that leads to his destruction in the first reading and the obedience of Joseph that opens the door to the restoration of the true kingdom of God. At the heart of each of these two attitudes is the call to listen to the voice of the Lord. In the first reading, it is the prophet who is the mouth of the Lord whereas in the second the message is conveyed by the angel.
In our daily life, we also are faced with the two attitudes; the voice of the Lord is always near us and ready to guide us. On our part however, we either close the door of our heart or open it with some bargain. Ahaz and Joseph are faced with very difficult and challenging situations. For the king it is a matter of survival: either he loses his kingdom and kingship, or he maintains it. Now the challenge is the choice of the way he must protect the kingdom. Here the king relies on himself and refuses to listen to God. The end is predictable: he lost his kingdom as well as his life and God brought in another king. The lesson here is that refusal to listen to God leads to self-destruction.
Joseph experiences the same challenge: can you imagine the amount of questions that pop in Joseph’s mind? He decides at the end of the day to pick one: not to shame his betrothed one. He wanted to repudiate her in secret, say the Scriptures. And that is when God comes into play in very special way. He sends the messenger to convey the message. In his confusion, Joseph needs, faith and trust. These are the two key elements which led him to surrender to God’s will. He listened to the message from God and, unlike Ahaz, he believed, trusted and surrendered.
We all have experienced some difficult times during which we have to make choices. We are given in today’s readings a pattern of what happens whenever we either listen to our guardian angel or refuse to do so. Today is the opportunity for all and each one of us to search his/her inward and to answer to the following question: how is my listening capability when it comes about facing challenges in my life? We are invited to follow in the footsteps of Joseph and open our hearts to listen with faith and trust to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Marvelous Counselor, so that we might be able to surrender to God’s will. This process will lead us to experiencing true happiness, true freedom and the grace to be with the Lord as he comes to save us.
Let us then continue to pray for one another and for our parish as we get ready to welcome the Son of God in our hearts and our lives.