Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
At the sight of the angel in his dream, I can imagine Joseph saying, “oh no, not you again. The last time you came around, my whole life was changed, causing me a lot of grief and angst. Now, what do you want?” The angel might have replied, “I understand how you feel and you have every right, but I am just the messenger, please don’t shoot. Believe me, a trip to Egypt right now is the best for you and your family.”
How many times have I felt like Joseph when things unexpected and unwelcome happen? How many times have I been angry and totally dispirited by such things? Can I turn to God and express myself honestly, even with anger? Can I ultimately pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass by me. But in the end, let your will be done.”
When I see and read about all the horrific things happening in the Middle East these days, isn’t Jesus’ prayer the least I can offer?
—David McNulty serves as Assistant for Operations at the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things…
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise…
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God…
I got nothing I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.
—Reflection found on a dead Confederate soldier