Prayer: O Lord Jesus, I would love to shed my blood for you.
Imagination: (Picture Mary, Joseph and the Child fleeing into Egypt.)
In Matthew’s gospel, Joseph is the central person in the infancy stories and God’s usual way of communicating with him is by an angel in his dreams. Historically, Herod was an insane man who killed many of his wives and relatives. The Church honors as martyrs the children whom he killed. The text mentions Rachel, who was Jacob’s wife. Two tribes of Israel were named after her two sons. They were slaughtered 700 years before Jesus.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
After the Magi departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep saying, “Arise and take the child and his mother and go to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you. Because it will happen that Herod will seek to destroy the child.” He arose and took the child and his mother and went to Egypt until the death of Herod. Thus the word the Lord spoke to the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt, I have called my Son”.
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the Magi, he was exceedingly angry. He ordered that all the boys in Bethlehem and the surrounding regions who were two years old or less be killed. This was according to the time which he had learned from the Magi. What was said through the prophet Jeremiah was thus fulfilled, “A voice was heard in Rama, sobbing and loud lamentation. Rachel bewailing her children. There was no comfort for her because they were no more.” (Jer 31:15)
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
- Joseph has great spiritual gifts. He receives angelic messages that others would have missed.
- Despite all the difficulties, he immediately obeys the angel’s message.
- He will stay in Egypt until he receives another message.
- How much we owe to Joseph. He spared Mary’s life when she was pregnant and saved Jesus’ life from Herod.
- By this slaughter, the shadow of the cross appears early in the gospel.
- Satan uses Herod to kill these children. Later, he will use Judas and Pilate to kill Jesus.
- Without knowing it, these children become Jesus’ disciples and share in his cross.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- O Lord, help me to hear your directions for my life.
- O Jesus, speak and I will listen. Guide me and I will follow.
- O Lord, protect me in a world so filled with dangers.
- Keep me in your hiding place, O Lord. I live to be hidden in your hands.
- O Jesus, I accept whatever suffering comes to me as your disciple.
- Destroy my plans for my life. Reveal your plans.
- Help me to avoid those whom Satan controls.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will be sensitive this day to God’s promptings.
- I will not endanger my body or my soul, my human life or my eternal life.
Thought for the today: (To recall your meditation)
Herod will seek to destroy the child.