Context: There are two painful events at the very beginning of Christ’s life. After the magi return to the East, Saint Joseph has a dream. In his dream, an angel of the Lord appears to him and warns him that Jesus is in grave danger. The King of Israel, Herod, wants to destroy Him. Though this is only a dream, Joseph knows by the gift of certain faith that God spoke to him. His fatherly instinct takes over. Thus, in the middle of the night, not wasting any time, Saint Joseph flees with Mary and Jesus to the far off land of Egypt. This journey is over 400 miles by foot. But Joseph knows he must protect Jesus. Mary assents in her perfect faith, and the long journey to an unknown land begins.
At the same time, Herod discovers that the magi left without returning to tell him about the Christ Child. He is filled with such anger and rage that he does the unthinkable, the unspeakable, the deplorable! He orders his men to murder every boy in Bethlehem under the age of two. Herod was so greedy of his power that any potential threat had to be eliminated in his mind. He irrationally reasoned that the death of these infants was for the greater good, for his good.
As the assassins arrived in Bethlehem and began spilling the blood of these holy innocents, the crying, shock and horror reached a level these good people had never known. These were not soldiers killed in battle. They were infants. Babies. Little children with their whole lives before them. And they were slaughtered like animals at the hands of a madman.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:13–18
Reflection: Begin by pondering Saint Joseph and his dream. Try to understand the power of this dream. It was no ordinary dream. (Silent Reflection)
Imagine, also, Saint Joseph waking Mary and Jesus and informing them that they had to immediately travel over 400 miles to Egypt. Put yourself in their home and try to sense the emotions, questions, anxiety and experience of the moment. (Silent Reflection)
Experience the journey, day after day after day. (Silent Reflection)
See them arriving in Egypt, finding housing, meeting new people, explaining their situation. (Silent Reflection)
Imagine, also, King Herod. Sense his fury, wrath, irrationality. (Silent Reflection)
Ponder what his soldiers thought as he gave the order. (Silent Reflection)
Ponder the parents of those holy innocents as their children were slain before their very eyes. (Silent Reflection)
Ponder Jesus, safely on His way to Egypt during this horrific event. (Silent Reflection)
Without even knowing it, these infants gave witness to the newborn King by the shedding of their blood. Ponder your own call to give all for Christ. No sacrifice is too great for the King of Kings. (Silent Reflection)
Introduction to Meditations for the Christmas Season
- Birth of the Savior of the World
- Humble Shepherds
- Presentation in the Temple
- Flight into Egypt, Massacre of Holy Innocents
- Hidden Life, Finding in the Temple
Featured Image: Carlo Dolci – The Flight into Egypt