Revision of Scripture Reflections - Advent 2014 from Wed, 12/24/2014 - 1:10pm
Matthew 1:20, 24
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife ... When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife."
Dear Sisters and Partners in Mission,
This text from the Vigil Mass of Christmas seems particularly apt to us as we send you our greetings for this great feast.
Since we began to prepare for our Congregational Chapter, we have been asked to dream. We chose the beautiful text from the French writer Charles Péguy, which reminds us that God has a dream for us, and that we can share that dream, but to do so we need patience, humor, courage and a listening heart. God will do the rest.
Joseph would have needed all of these qualities to face the situation in which he found himself: the woman he loved and had wanted to marry was pregnant with a child that was not his. It is evident in the gospel that he agonized over this. He had made up his mind to send Mary away. Then He had a dream. Joseph didn't have the comfort of a conversation with the Angel Gabriel where he could have raised questions. No, he had to be satisfied with a dream!
Like us today, Joseph faced an uncertain future. We too ask ourselves how our mission will be furthered amidst great challenges, changes ... confusing and distressing social, religious and moral climate. How many of us have felt like him? At times, it seems as though the world moves on, while we stand worrying and wondering: What do we do? How will we get through this?
But in all of the turmoil, in Joseph's complicated situation, comes a voice in a dream: "Do not be afraid." And his world -- and ours -- is changed. In the middle of 'the anxiety of Joseph' comes blessed reassurance -- a reminder that God will lead us beyond our fears, beyond our limitations.
Again and again, the words come to us from the gospels, in times of change, doubts and anxiety. "Do not be afraid." This is the message to Joseph, Mary, to the shepherds, to the disciples -- and to us -- today.
As we turn towards the New Year, the year in which we will hold our Congregational Chapter, we welcome God's dream for ouyr world, for our Congregation, and for each one of us. God's dreams are always infused with love for all creation and with the hope of reconciliation, peace, and, ultimately, unity. Do we share God's dream? Are our patience, humor, courage and listening hearts enabling us to hear the call to risk together, so that God's dream mighrt become a reality? Will we, like Joseph, be enabled to say our YES when we are gathered in Angers and afterwards?
We wish you this special grace of sharing God's dream as we celebrate the gift of God in the birth of Jesus. We remember all the troubled parts of our world and we pray with you and for you. With our love and prayers,
The Congregational Leadership Team
I dearly love those shepherds who, immediately when they were called threw down their crooks and hastened to Jesus. They did not say, "'Who sill take care of our flocks? The wolves will devour them. Besides, we know not where we have to go.'" This is how you ought to ackt that you may find God who calls you.
St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier