Archbishop’s Teaching

7th Sunday in Advent Announcement to Joseph Mt 1 : 18-25

Homily of His Excellency Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

7th Sunday in Advent
Announcement to Joseph
Mt 1 : 18-25

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The Good News of salvation continues its journey in hearts to rest on that
of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth, a righteous man of the line of King
David, husband of Mary.
Upset by the news of his beloved's pregnancy, Joseph cannot bring
himself to let her suffer the fate of stoning, should he repudiate her. Not
having yet grasped that he is in the presence of a mystery that is beyond
him, he delicately considers a repudiation made in secret...
Tormented by anguish, an angel comes to invite Joseph not to fear to
welcome Mary into his home, for she is pregnant by the power of the Holy
Spirit. Now, thanks to a dream, Joseph knows that the child that Mary is
carrying comes from the Holy Spirit. However, it will be up to him to give
him his name: Jesus, meaning "God Saves".
Joseph remains Mary's faithful husband and the child's adoptive father.
The child will be the son of Mary, adopted by Joseph, who will protect
and nurture him. He will watch over Jesus like a father. The child's destiny
is already revealed in his name: he will be the savior of his people.
Thus Joseph will see fulfilled before his astonished eyes the salvation of
God promised to his fathers for many generations. However, this did not
come about only because Joseph is a man of trust, a man of silent action
and a faithful man.
Man of trust, Joseph gives us a beautiful example of faith in God. He
invites us, who are worried today in the midst of so many trials in our
lives, never to doubt God, never to lose confidence in Him, to grow in
faith in Him who made Himself so close to us that He came to share our
human condition. Joseph invites us by his example not to let the hope in
Him die out in our hearts, the One who suffered with us but who, by His
resurrection, has definitively conquered evil and death.
Man of silent action today, in a noisy and agitated world, Joseph teaches
us to be silent within ourselves, to welcome a word from God and listen
attentively to it. This is sometimes difficult, but not impossible, if we
meditate on the life of Joseph, the silent man who acted without speaking,
who, enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, acted according to his
conscience. Joseph teaches us that to do the will of God, we must first
gather ourselves, listen and meditate on His Word, which speaks to our
Man faithful to the Law of God and to his commitment of love in
marrying Mary. Joseph teaches us how to remain faithful to our
commitment as Christians, baptized and called to enter into God's plan to
welcome His Son within us and help Him grow, so as to offer Him as
Good News to others.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, St. Joseph teaches us
how to listen to and meditate on the Word of God in silence, and put it
into practice every day with a converted heart, to keep faithfully trusting
in God.
The testimony of the life of St. Joseph also teaches us that the Lord leads
us along paths we had not foreseen, but that He knows where to lead us to
enter eternal life by the grace of His Holy Spirit.
Let us ask Saint Joseph to watch over our family, over the Church and
over each of our lives. May he help us, with the intercession of Mary, in
these difficult times, to move forward fearlessly in faith, to grow
constantly in hope against any despair that threatens us, and to make our
hearts full of love for God and for those around us.

Hail, guardian of the Redeemer, spouse of the Virgin Mary. To you God
entrusted his Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became
O blessed Joseph, be a father to us too, and lead us on the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage to live our faith in Jesus Christ of
whom you have taken care and defend us from all evil. Amen.
† Selim Sfeir
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

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