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 died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.”Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
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.
I met Orlando about ten years ago on an Ignatian Spirituality Project (www.ispretreats.org) retreat. He was a young man who was experiencing homelessness after being released from prison. He, like all of us, was struggling with fear. While incarcerated, Orlando’s son was born. They were about to meet for the first time. Orlando was terrified: “What if my son says he doesn’t love me?”
The Holy Family likewise knew pain. No idyllic, cherubic pictures in this icon. They were homeless. They were poor refugees who fled to survive. They were tired, desperate, but full of grit. They leaned on each other, and they made it…together.
I never heard what Orlando’s son said to him, but I know any family is made holy through fidelity and forgiveness. It is the kind of mercy and faithfulness that God has for each of us in whatever exile we might find ourselves.
—Jordan Skarr works with the Jesuits at the Midwest province office in Chicago, assisting with programming for pastoral ministries.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph — Holy Family! Bless my family;
bless all those I love this holy season of new life. Amen!
Please share the Good Word with your friends!