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Q. 456: What do all the stories about St. Joseph and his many dreams (Matt. 2:13-15, 19-23) have to do with me today?

Here we are, just days after the birth of Jesus, and already his parents are worried about his safety. They had their own “early warning system” – Joseph was now an expert in listening and responding to his special dreams. He had been warned by God several months earlier not to abandon a pregnant Mary. Now in three additional dreams he receives more divine directions.

First he hears, “Save the child; flee to Egypt.” Matthew is always taking pains to show that Jesus is the new Moses who “saves,” and also that Joseph has his own archetype in the Patriarch Jacob’s son Joseph, who “saved” Israel in its time of need. Next comes “Go back to Israel.” Matthew even reinterprets the prophet Hosea’s message to accommodate his purpose of showing fulfillment of a “new Exodus” (Hosea 11). Finally, Joseph hears the message “Avoid Judea,” because there is another “pharaoh” there (King Archelaus) who is as deadly as his father, the deceased King Herod.

There are many lessons from today’s readings, but very prominent among them is the lesson we learn from St. Joseph about “listening.” There are many competing voices “out there” that are persistent in getting our attention. Some voices insistently urge us to violate God’s natural law and join them in supporting abortion, contraception, euthanasia, same-sex relationships, sex before marriage, and other similar vices. Other voices, such as the Roman Catholic Church, teach us the Truth and oppose those vices, identifying them as crimes against God and the dignity of the human person. You are being called today to identify with St. Joseph and, like him, listen to the voice of Truth – it will always uphold virtue and faithfully adhere to the teachings of the apostles and their successors, the Catholic bishops.

KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! Many stories in Holy Scripture show us the opposition of Darkness to Truth, including our gospel stories today (CCC # 530). That opposition will culminate at the Cross on Calvary. Infidelity to God and his Truth lead to death (CCC #710). You have been given free will to choose either good or evil – and their consequences.

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