Do Not Be Afraid

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Advent by FAN board member, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our December 12th newsletter

mary-joseph“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.” (Matt.1:20) I often wonder how different the lives of Joseph and Mary would have been if Joseph acted out of his fear and followed the societal norms of his day. Over 2,000 years after Mary and Joseph awaited the birth of their son, we approach the celebration of this birth in a world where the welfare of some individuals is tied to the demonization of other human beings and where fear and violence is employed so that the privileged may retain power.

Francis, do not be afraid to embrace the leper, to seek an encounter with the sultan, to cultivate peace with the wolf. Our second reading testifies that we are all “set apart for the gospel of God…called to be holy.” (Rom. 1:1-6) In the Admonitions, St. Francis gives direction on his attempts to see the face of God through his fears and act out of the call to be holy. “Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.” (The Counsels of the Holy Father St. Francis, Admonition 27)

What fears do we have for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our country and for our world? How is God calling each of us to stand with the vulnerable as Joseph stood with the very vulnerable, pregnant Mary? As people proud to be living in probably the most diverse and pluralistic society in history we recognize that our personal ideals and cultural norms will not fit everyone. Our Gospel this week serves as a reminder that love for each of our brothers and sisters, all created in God’s image and likeness, takes precedent over adherence to our cultural norms and ideals. As we enter this last week before we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we pray for the peace, charity, wisdom, patience and humility that we need to assist in the daily birthing of Emmanuel “God with us” in our own lives and in the life of the world.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on December 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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