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Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,  “Joseph, son of David,  do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21

In the Angelus we remind ourselves of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary. Here, in this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of the angel appearing to Joseph to announce the birth of Jesus.

We sometimes forget about Joseph when contemplating the role of Mary in Salvation History. Joseph was there too, supporting Mary and Jesus and protecting them. God sent an angel to him as well so that all that the Lord had planned would be fulfilled.

The thing I find interesting is that Joseph never answers.

We echo Mary’s response in the Angelus prayer: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.”

But Joseph is silent. He hears God’s word and he acts upon it.

Like Mary, he operates mostly in the background of the Gospels. We don’t know much about his life or how he helped raise Jesus other than the fact that he was a carpenter.

All we read is that “when Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24).

In this final week of Advent, as we near Christmas Day, let us emulate the response of Joseph. Let us listen for God’s will and act without deliberation on what we know to be right.

Let us silently serve the Lord.

Jared Dees

Author Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher, a popular website for religious educators, and the author of Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life .

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