Fourth Sunday of Advent: Gospel Reflection

“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him …” (Matthew 1:24) 

In this week's Gospel, we hear that Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married when Joseph found out that Mary was going to have a baby. After hearing this news, Joseph decided to call off the marriage. But an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to stay with Mary and take care of her. The angel said the baby was God’s son and should be named Jesus.

This was not at all what Joseph had planned! The angel’s message was so unusual, and would require so much from him, that it would have been easier for Joseph to pretend he didn’t hear it. Instead, he trusted God and did what the angel asked, even though it would change his life.

Like Joseph, a group of Dominican sisters in India had to change their plans in order to respond to God’s call. They arrived in India in 1954, intent on opening a new hospital. But at that time, many men were losing their factory jobs, which meant that many women were looking for work so they could take care of their families. The Dominican sisters saw this, and instead of founding a hospital, they started St. Mary’s, a sewing and embroidery center, where women could come and work, and be a part of a supportive community.

Because these nuns trusted in God’s plan rather than sticking to their own, they were able to help Keechi, an Indian woman whose husband and older daughter had passed away. With the money she makes through sewing and embroidery, she is able to send her daughter, Reena, to school.

The Dominican sisters’ example invites us to consider how God may be calling us—like he called Joseph— to trust in him enough to do things we wouldn’t have necessarily planned for ourselves.