Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas 2 - Jan 3, 2016

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY
Br. José Folgueira, OHC
Christmas 2 - Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

The flight in Egypt

“God is in charge”

In today’s Gospel we see Joseph and Mary threatened by forces too strong for them. They are warned that Herod the Great, a famously brutal ruler, was hunting for them. Like millions of other refugees, past and present, like myself, they had to flee. God’s own Son becomes a transient, homeless, migrant, alien. Like some of us at times in our lives, they had to hurry away from serious trouble. Many of us have known what it means to be in the grip of hands too strong for us. The hands too strong for us can be external; some of us have known mistreatment and various forms of imprisonment. But very often those strangleholds are internal, the grip of fear born from past experience, from trauma or abuse, for whatever reason unmanageable. 

So here is Joseph, a Jewish carpenter by trade. And his viewpoint of it all was one of obedience and willing service, and a sense of the meaning of who Jesus was and that God was at work in redemption for His people Israel. 

The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel does not say take thy wife and son; for though Mary was properly his wife, yet Jesus was not properly his son. 

The child is mentioned before the mother, not only because of his divine nature and office, in respect to which he was her God and Savior; but because it was the preservation of the child that was chiefly regarded, and for which the providence of God was particularly concerned.

Joseph understood that he had a great responsibility as the earthly father of this child, to protect him, to rear him, to train him up, to provide for him, and to love and prepare him for whatever was to come in the years ahead.  

This is certainly a story about whom to trust, and fortunately for us, the pagan astrologers know better than to trust the king who claims piety and faithfulness. The powers of the world can never be trusted with the good news of God’s love.

Joseph is a man of God, a man of unquestioning obedience and willing service. He is man of prayer and a man of God’s words. Through faith he recognized the hand of God in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God taking flesh as the Son of Mary. Joseph is a man of action, diligent in the care of his family and ready to do the Lord’s bidding. 
Joseph fearlessly set aside his own plans when God called him “to take to the road” and to leave his familiar surroundings, his home, friends and relatives and the security of his livelihood in order to pursue a hidden mission God entrusted to him as the guardian of the newborn King. God has a plan for each of us. With the plan God gives grace and assurance of his guiding hand and care. Do you trust Him for his plan for your life? Are you willing to sacrifice your own plans for God’s plan? 
Are you willing to give God unquestioning service and to pursue whatever mission he gives you?

We can learn from all this that:
- The safest place to be is where God leads you. The Wise Men followed a star, and it led them to the Christ child, also they followed God’s instructions and they escaped Herod’s wrath. Joseph followed the Angel’s instructions in a dream, and escaped to Egypt, and also followed God’s instructions and they escaped the wrath of Archelaus.
- The safest place you can be, is in the center of God’s will. Whatever path you take in life, God knows where it will lead. How much better to follow the path that He leads you down.

God is in charge. You can always feel safe when you are living in God’s will. That’s not to say that bad things won’t happen to you. But, God is in charge. Everything that happened in the Christmas story was planned by God. You can see His hand in the Christmas story every step of the way. God is in charge.

Joseph and Mary didn’t have their baby in Bethlehem. Their dream of going back to Nazareth to live a quiet and peaceable life, were postponed for a few years. Their life was nothing they had planned or expected.

Guess what? God is still in charge. He didn’t leave Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem to go it alone. He didn’t leave them in Egypt to tuff it out. God still on the Throne. God is still in charge.

“Lord, make me a faithful servant and guardian of your truth and word. Help me to obey you willingly, like Joseph, with unquestioning trust and with joyful hope.”


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