Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father." (Genesis 49:2)

Ite Ad Joseph! "Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells of you!" These were the words to Pharaoh to the Egyptian people after experiencing the power of the Old Testament man whose dreams and ability to discern the meaning of dreams astounded the mightiest men of the empire.

The New Joseph, the husband of Mary, is the quiet figure of the Christmas story. In today's Gospel, Matthew tells us of Joseph's reaction to the Annunciation without him saying a single word.

But his actions speak loudly. Matthew's goal is to show us Joseph as the fulfillment of God's promise throughout the history of Israel.

While Luke features Mary as the star of Jesus's nativity, Matthew's hero is Joseph.

Joseph is a truly just man and an ideal observer of the Law. His decision to divorce Mary quietly is a compassionate approach to the Law.

Like his Old Testament namesake, Joseph is a dreamer. And his dreams reveals God's plans for a Messiah.

When Joseph learns the truth of Mary's pregnancy in a dream, he acts to fulfill his role in the plan.

When Joseph learns of Herod's plan to harm Jesus, Joseph devises a plan to flee to Egypt. 

In each instance, Joseph develops a realistic strategy to respond to God's plan.

Joseph is the protector of Jesus, Mary and now the entire Church. How does he exercise this role? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand.

As we anticipate the coming of Adonai, Jesus Christ, may we like St. Joseph be attentive to the signs of God’s presence and loyal protectors of God's gifts.