By Martin Jumbam
The Universal Church celebrates Sunday, December 22, 2013 as the fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A. Christmas is just around the corner and there’s feverish excitement among children and adults alike as cards, presents and decorations are on everyone’s mind. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah announces that God will show his people a sign: a maiden with child will give birth to a son called Immanuel – God with us. This prophecy, given a thousand years earlier, finds fulfillment in the New Testament with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Immanuel – God with us. In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the Romans that the Son of the Virgin Mary comes from royal stock – a descendant of David. He is the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of holiness, which he received to pour out on all flesh. Paul is convinced of his mission, which is to proclaim to the world that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets. In the Gospel, Saint Matthew shows the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy when a virgin conceives by the power of the Holy Spirit and brings forth a Son – Immanuel, God with us. Saint Joseph, his adoptive father, receives the unique privilege of being addressed father by the Son of God, as he is the head of the family of Nazareth. In the course of this Eucharist, let us pray for the grace of conversion as we prepare to receive Immanuel – God with us. Amen.