Fourth Sunday of Advent

Mt 1: 18-24

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Angels among us

“The young woman is with child and shall bear a son,.” The angel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of “the Son of the Most High.” An angel appeared to Joseph: “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”

Angels still appear in our days. A beautiful grade school friend of my mother, terminally ill, made her own special prayer. “Lord, make all sick people well.” Her mother wished the sun would shine for her sick daughter. The daughter said; “Mom, if you want the sun to shine, it will shine.” At her funeral, the sun broke through for the first time in a week.

When my father was near death, my mother pinned a relic of that angel on his hospital gown. As she was leaving, the sun suddenly flooded her car. At that moment she knew my father would live.

—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJ, is a retreat director at Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, LA.


Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of death.

Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.

You were chosen by the Father;
you were chosen for the Son.
You were chosen from all women
and for woman, shining one.

Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.

Blessed are you among women,
blest in turn all women, too.
Blessed they with peaceful spirits.
Blessed they with gentle hearts.

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman by Carey Landry, © 1975, 1978. Published by OCP Publications.