Monday, November 26, 2018
When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up, take the child and His mother and find refuge in Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. – Matthew 2:13-16
In Matthew’s telling of the birth of Christ, the incarnation of the Divine into human life, Joseph and Mary were told to flee the capricious and vain wrath of Herod. They fled to Egypt and there they waited until the death of Herod the Great. They could not return to their land because of the actions of the leader of that land. They were indeed refugees.
I recall a scene in the movie, “An Officer and a Gentleman” where the gunnery sergeant [played by Louis Gossett, Jr]. is demanding a trainee [played by Richard Gere to tell him why he refuses to quit officer candidate training. And from the depths of the candidate with tears in his voice, he cries out …”I HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!” I find this is most often the cry of all refugees …”I have nowhere else to go!”
Loved Ones, I have learned, through my first-hand experiences with people in much need of mercy, that one must understand from where the person in need has come from, even from where he or she has fled. With that knowledge meets Christian compassion … the mercy begins to flow.
What makes a people so desperate to flee from whence they came? It is a question that justice and mercy requires us to ask.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz