Obedience seems to be a common theme in today’s readings. In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 7:10-14, Ahaz listens in obedience to the voice of God as pointed out by God and emphasized by Isaiah. In our second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 1:1-7, St. Paul while reminding us of our salvation story through Christ, urges us to bring about the obedience of faith in proclaiming and living out the gospel of Christ. Then in our gospel reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 1:18-24, we are told of the obedience of Joseph. These readings while emphasizing the importance of Obedience in the life of every disciple of Christ as we get ready to welcome Christ into our lives and world on Christmas Day, reminds us that the first demand of discipleship is Obedience to God. So, what is obedience?

Obedience according to the Catholic dictionary is a moral virtue that inclines the will to comply with the will of God who has the right to command. Obedience to God is without limit, and as a virtue, it is pleasing to God because it means the sacrifice of one's will out of love for God. Obedience as a virtue is centered on three important virtues of great significance in the life of a Christian, they are: Faith, Hope and Trust in God. Faith according to Catholic dictionary is the acceptance of the word of another, trusting that one knows what the other is saying and is honest in telling the truth. Faith also is the belief in God, shown in our thoughts, words and actions; a belief that entails hearing the word of God, accepting it and putting it into practice. My dear friends in Christ, it is time to open up our hearts and ears to hear the word of God, accept what we have heard and strive daily to live out the gospel we have heard and accepted through our faith in God.

Hope according to the Catholic dictionary is the confident desire of obtaining a future good that is difficult to attain. It is a desire, which implies seeking and pursuing; some future good that is not yet possessed but wanted. Hope is confident that what is desired will certainly be attained. Yet it recognizes that the object wanted is not easily obtained and that it requires effort to overcome whatever obstacles stand in the way. Hence, Hope is very essential in our preparation for the coming of Christ this Christmas season because it is a confident desire that seeks and searches for God while withstanding all the difficulties, challenges, struggles and obstacles that come our way in this endeavor.

Trust according to the Catholic dictionary is a reliance on someone. Applied to God, trust is a form of hope, but with the special nuance that God will not deny his grace to one who does what one can. This means that, provided a person co-operates with divine grace according to his or her ability, that person will merit further grace from God. So Trust aids our obedience to God as it reminds us to rely on Him knowing that if we work hard in our spiritual lives, we will certainly attain the kingdom of heaven.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray in today’s Eucharistic celebration for the willingness to be obedient to God as we prepare ourselves to welcome His Son our Lord Jesus Christ into our world and our lives this Christmas season. May we continue to follow Christ more obediently and answer our call to discipleship through Faith, Hope and Trust in God. Amen!