Fourth Sunday of Advent: St. Joseph
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we read St. Matthew’s Gospel in which the role of St. Joseph is brought into focus. In order to understand the situation in which Joseph found himself, a little background is needed. He was betrothed (in Hebrew, ‘qiddushin’ meaning consecrations) to Mary, Our Lady. In Jewish culture at that time, this had a greater significance than the modern day equivalent of an engagement because it carried with it the legal and moral effects of marriage itself. During this time of betrothal the bride-to-be lived with her parents – in Mary’s case with Saints Joachim and Anne. It was only at the celebration of the wedding that the wife would be led in procession to her husband’s house after which time they “came together” [RSV Mt 1:18].