Responding to the Mass of the fourth Sunday of Advent

There are many treatments of the Annunciation to Mary, as told in the Gospel of Luke. There are fewer of the Annunciation to Joseph, as told in the Gospel of Matthew.

One depiction which is of particular note is that in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s exceptional film The Gospel according to Matthew.

The scene is played out almost without words, but beautifully establishes the quality of relationship between Mary and Joseph, and draws us into both the pain and the joy of their experience.

The whole film is presently available on YouTube – click here. (although you may have to endure discordant adverts!). The Annunciation scene is the first scene and then follows the story of the Magi and the Massacre of the Innocents.

However, as this is Year A for our Sunday Lectionary, and Matthew’s is the Gospel of the Year why not rent or buy the film and watch it without interruption and at leisure. It is available on Amazon Prime Video and on DVD/Blu Ray. – but do watch it in the original black and white, not in the unfortunate colorised version

Released in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of Pope John XXIII, ‘The Gospel According to Matthew’ has been regularly voted one of the greatest religious films ever made. As recently as 2015, it was declared, by the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, to be the best film on Christ ever made

  • Images are screen captures showing Mary and Joseph from the film.

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