Today we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus Mary and Joseph from the Gospel of Matthew 2:13-5, 19-23. We all know the story of how Jesus is born. He is conceived in Mary through the Holy Spirit. He is born 30 miles from his hometown because the Roman Emperor decided to call a census. Everyone was required to go to the town where the father of the house originally came from. In Joseph’s case this is Bethlehem. It’s a very small town and every hotel and inn is full because of the census. Joseph and Mary find a place for her to have her child. It is a working barn with animals, hay and everything else you would expect to find in a barn. This is where Jesus is born.
Very soon after Jesus is born, Joseph receives a message in a dream to go to faraway Egypt because Herod, the ruling King of the Jews, is trying to kill Jesus. Herod is afraid that he will be replaced by this new king. Joseph, being a trusting man, takes his family to Egypt. Eight or nine years later Joseph has another dream telling him that Herod has died and he should now return to Nazareth in the land of Galilee. Joseph obeys the message and they return to the land of Israel.
I would encourage each one of you to read this story for yourselves. While it is a little less extensive than some of the other gospel writers, it is really a story of faith and trust in God’s message for Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What courage Joseph and Mary show by allowing themselves to be uprooted one more time to bring Jesus to Nazareth.
Every year I asked myself the question: would I have the courage to follow a message like Joseph received so many years ago? The truth is: I really don’t know. During this holy season please pray that God will show you what he wants you to do. When he answers, respond positively to his request!
Peace and All Good!