Embrace the Christ Child

Dear Friends,

Well it is almost here! The fourth Sunday of Advent has come upon us and we have only three days before we celebrate the birthday of our Savior. I pray that this Advent has been a special time of preparation spiritually and is leading you ever more passionately as Jesus’ disciple.

This weekend’s Gospel from Saint Matthew focuses on Saint Joseph, the foster-Father of Jesus. Joseph never says a word in our Scriptures, but he is an integral part of God’s plan for the coming of our Savior into human history. We know Joseph is a righteous man, meaning that he is in right relationship with God. His caring and loving nature prompted him not to expose Mary to any shame or even possible death when she is found with Child.

But this righteous man of faith, open to God’s will, prompted by the Angel in his dream, goes even farther and accepts Mary as His wife as the Angel explains that Mary has conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit. He gives Jesus His name and protects both Jesus and Mary throughout his own short life as Matthew details for us in his Gospel.

Joseph is the example par excellence for every man in our world, for every husband, for every father! In the book of Genesis, Adam does not protect his wife Eve from the tempter. They both fall. Joseph overcomes this lapse by his fidelity to God’s plans. Joseph put his relationship with God before all else and cared for others the way that God cares for us. His compassion, reflecting God’s, enables him to do for others what God does for us. He makes present in his life and in the life of those around him the gift of God and God’s Kingdom. His is sacrificial love in the here and now!

May Saint Joseph’s example and life guide us in these few remaining days to surrender our wants, desires and will to God’s holy will. May Saint Joseph’s intercession strengthen our men especially in courage, compassion, mercy and right living before God, protecting, caring and serving family, friends and neighbors.

Christmas Eve and Day, we will welcome countless numbers of additional visitors to our Masses. May each of us welcome them as we welcome the Christ Child. May we embrace them in joy, good cheer and love! On behalf of our priests, deacons and parish staff, may you and all your loved ones enjoy every blessing and grace from our heavenly Father this Christmas Day and throughout all the new year! Thank you for your inspiring faith, enduring hope and practical love for others.

God bless you, God love you, and I love you, Monsignor McCulken

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