Father Peter Clarke

From the Diocese of Bridgetown

Working With Jesus: A Reflection On The Gospel, 4th Sunday In Advent By Fr. Peter Clarke, OP

Working With Jesus: A Reflection On The Gospel, 4th Sunday In Advent By Fr. Peter Clarke, OP
Image by Fr. Denny Dempsey

(Greetings brothers and sisters! I'm Fr. Peter Clarke, standing in for my brother Isidore who is not well enough to write the weekly reflection.) In the Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent (Lk 1 :26-38). we hear how Mary willingly accepted the huge responsibility God wished to entrust to her – to be the mother of one who would " be great and be called Son of the Most High!" In St. Matthew's Gospel (1.18-25) we read how Joseph was told people would call this child "Emmanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us.' '' Also, He must be named 'Jesus,' because He is the one who is to save His people from their sins." What a destiny! "To save his people from their sins."

Certainly Jesus would have received normal training within the home and, like other boys, He would have been given religious instruction in the local synagogue. It is said that it takes a village to train a child. As for forgiving people their sins! God alone would know how Jesus was to be prepared for such an undertaking.

We can be grateful to St. John Paul 11 for bringing to our attention how the vocations of these three members of the Holy Family would be inter-woven: Jesus - Redeemer of Mankind, Mary - Mother of the Redeemer, Joseph - the Guardian of the Redeemer.God had given to each of them a role way beyond their being home-makers in Nazareth.

The mission assigned to Jesus was to be global – affecting the whole of mankind. It was to be radical. To save, redeem, reconcile God and mankind. Jesus, being truly God, was uniquely able to redeem mankind. Mary as the Mother of the Redeemer and Joseph as the Guardian of the Redeemer. would protect and provide for the family. They helped each other to rise to the challenge of their family's interwoven vocations. In different ways and to different degrees they collaborated in the redemption of mankind,with Jesus being the spearhead, the achiever of such a mission.

At Christmas we celebrate a husband and a wife listening attentively as the Angel Gabriel explained to Mary and Joseph how God was seeking, was needing, their co-operation. Mary gave an unconditional "Yes!" to what God was asking of her, her readily putting herself at God's disposal as His handmaid. Joseph trustingly accepted what the angel explained to him about his wife Mary with a child that was not his own. He agreed to take to his home Mary as his wife.

They gazed lovingly at their Jesus lying in the manger. With theeyes of Faith they adored Him as being truly God. What a blessing, what a privilege, had been bestowed upon them. God had given them a heavy responsibility. They were to be collaborators with God in all that would be accomplished through His sending His Son into the world. They were to be collaborators with their Son, Jesus, in whatever His Father had sent Him to achieve.

And now I come closer to home. When an infant is being baptized and thereby becomes a child of God the parents are asked a question by God through the priest. This amounts to, "You two! Will you look after my child, your child for me, our child, for me !"

As an adult Jesus invited various people to follow Him. Later He asked someto work along-side Him. Before His ascension into Heaven He founded a Church of people such as ourselves through which He would continue what He had started during His short stay on earth. St. Paul tells us, "We are God's fellow workers," (1COR.3.9).

When I visit the Crib on Christmas Day I shall ask, "What do you want of me, Little Fella, how can I work for you, live for you? The embrace of yourprogramme is as wide as the world."

And dear readers, to what extent would you offer to commityourselves tocollaborate with the Babe in the manger who saved, redeemed the world and continues to do so ?

A blessed Christmas to you and yours. Amen

Peter Clarke, O.P.

Jesus Or Emmanuel? What's In A Name: A Reflection ...
Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown Holiday Mass ...