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The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

This Sunday, 24th December, is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the last day of a very short Advent season. You can find the readings for Sunday’s Mass here. We share here Mgr Canon Jeremy Garratt’s Commentary from our diocesan Liturgy Project website

The bible is wonderful. All life is there. Today’s Gospel is a case in point. The drama behind the words is worthy of a soap opera. The reading tells of Joseph’s turmoil at finding that Mary, the girl he was betrothed to marry, was pregnant – and he knew it was not his child. Now betrothal in terms of the time and culture was much more binding than engagement. It meant that the couple were actually married, but they had not yet come to live together, which simply means that Joseph had not yet brought his bride across the threshold of his house, formally taking her into his care and assuming responsibility for her from her father. This is the scenario behind the story of the ten bridesmaids.

Joseph had yet to arrange this ceremony of formal adoption of Mary as his wife when he discovered she was pregnant. He knew, of course, that he was not the father, so this was evidence of Mary’s adultery.  We can imagine Joseph’s turmoil.  His sense of betrayal would surely wrestle with his dismay and disbelief that this innocent, gentle, beautiful and demur girl could possibly have engaged in sexual congress with another man. But the evidence was irrefutable.

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