December 26th Feast of Holy Family

Mass Readings for Today are here as are several reflections. 

This reflection brings the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod into a modern day perspective of dispossession, refugees and child genocide.

Today's Gospel from Matthew 2 : 13-15 ; 19-23

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 had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”

He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.

And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.

He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.


Three more dreams for Joseph.

These big dreams are becoming  a major part of his life  and if I had been Joseph I think I would be mightily afraid to go to sleep by now.

Yet, maybe not, because he had learned from the first one that to believe and have faith was now something so firmly embedded in his life that he could do nothing else but to pay attention to them.

Maybe these dreams were now easier to act on than the first one and so his response was one of automatic assent without counting the cost to himself, to take immediate steps to protect his family.
Having been born in poverty, Mary, Joseph and  Jesus were now experiencing the tensions and discrimination that are inflicted on the poor by those in power.
The poor are the first to be displaced. Often refugees and exiles, either because of economic reasons or because they seek political shelter, the poor “have no place to lay their head.”
I think of the massacre of the "Holy Innocents"  the ones that  happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Millions of the poor are like that, the victims of history. They are not protected against malnutrition and disease; they lose their jobs and their savings; they are often stray victims of violence; 
I don't understand why they have to suffer. Maybe some day Jesus will answer that one for me and countless others.

 This sculpture of the Flight into Egypt by the Scottish sculptor Ronald Rae whom I have featured elsewhere on my blog has a short but great commentary.

This is the first short movement from the Four Symphonic Impressions, by Respighi' titled "The Flight into Egypt", portraying the escape of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus from King Herod; through stained glass images from church windows; "the little caravan proceeded through the desert, in the starry night, bearing the Treasure of the World", wrote Claudio Guastalla.




Philomena, thank you for this, which I come to after just myself having read and reflected a bit on today's Gospel,and has prompted more reflection. The sculptor and the music are quite beautiful.

Wishing you all the joys and challenges of the season, and many blessings in the New Year...

Anonymous said...

Very powerful post, Phil. Bringing the past horrors right to our own doorstep. So true. I love the part about Joseph not wanting to go to sleep - must admit, I never thought of that. Thanks for sharing these.

Barbara said...

Your blog is always so rich, so full of beauty and inspiration, Phil. I wish you a Happy Christmas and an amazing New Year!

Philomena Ewing said...

Thankyou Heather, Andie and Barbara
It was wonderful to log in tonight and read all your comments. :-)) What a treat ! Thank you.
Heather: Ronald Rae is a true maverick and I love his work. There are a few more videos of him on You Tube well worth a look if you get the chance. Blessings to you too !
Andie, The dreams of Joseph intrigue me but he would be consigned to a mental hospital today methinks.
Barbara- thank you for fulsome praise ! Happy Christmas to all- I am not a great fan of New Year celebrations;they can get overloaded with emotion but I will try to take a day at a time and treat it lightly this year.
Blessings to all of you!!