“HE ORDERED THE MASSACRE OF ALL THE BOYS IN BETHLEHEM AND ITS VICINITY TWO YEARS OLD AND UNDER.” MT 2:13-18
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast days of the first to die for Christ by will, love, and blood. Today, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents who died by blood alone.
Stephen the first martyr (martyr by will, love, and blood), John, the Disciple of Love (martyr by will and love), and these first flowers of the Church (martyrs by blood alone) accompany the Holy Child Jesus entering this world on Christmas day.
New Advent-Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07419a.htm
When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more. MT 2:13-18
Today’s Gospel reminds us that Mary and Joseph had to pick up and move with a baby. Travel conditions would be less than promising persevering through weather, rocky roads, climbing hills, long distances with no convenient stores, robbers and thieves, and did I mention they had a baby with them. They were foreigners. Joseph had to find work to provide for his family where he has no contacts, no job recommendations, and might have needed to take something that was not his skill as a woodworker just to make money. Mary had to raise Jesus in a foreign place with no family to help. They would not know the local Rabbi, schools, or community. It must have been very difficult.
I sometimes think that Mary and Joseph had it pretty good getting to raise the Savior of the world, but as I continue to reflect on the Scriptures they may have had more burden than many do in their lives. It is through their trust in God, never wavering from doing His Will, and remaining faithful in the hardest of times that they raise Jesus. I believe these are some of the same challenges many of us face in our families. We can learn a lot from the Holy Family. They had to make some very difficult decisions.
Can you imagine receiving a dream from an angel? Then, telling your wife and trying to convince her with a newborn that they had to travel a great distance to a foreign land because the leader of your area was going to kill your Son. We like to think that someone took them in and welcomed them in Egypt, but we have seen how difficult this can be with so many Syrian refugees who were displaced due to war in past years in our modern day. Last, it is difficult to imagine the parents that lost their 2 year old boys due to King Herod’s massacre. There are conflicting statistics, but we all know one is too many.
Today’s challenge: Today, let us pray for all of those who are displaced from their homelands and for parents who have lost a young baby or child.
Be a servant, be a saint today!