This weekend, I drove a five-hour trip which includes navigating zigzag roads stretching for almost an hour to cross the other side of the island. I endured the drive because it is meant for my beloved mother, who was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) some days before Christmas. As my Mom’s eldest child, I have been a recipient of her teachings early on, thus it isn’t only my moral obligation to ensure she is taken cared of properly, but it is more of the love for one’s own mother.
This Sunday’s Gospel (Mt. 2: 13-15, 19-23) proclaims the events affecting Jesus, Mary and Joseph during the reign of Herod, one primarily responsible for the killing of the Holy Innocents. Since it was already dangerous for the Child Jesus to stay longer, God intervened by directing Joseph to flee to Egypt. Joseph took the child and his mother to flee to Egypt, staying there until the death of Herod. Intending to go to Israel, he however changed his mind after hearing that Archelaus (Herod’s son) was ruling over Judea in place of his father. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean.
Throughout the reading, we can see Joseph’s role in ensuring the safety of Jesus. But what makes it significant is that God intervened in very difficult situations. God didn’t allow for anything to happen outside the Divine Plan. It is because Joseph proved himself worthy of the calling, without which, there wouldn’t be any role for him in salvation history.
To be hopeful of God’s interventions in our own lives, we must be like Joseph. We can’t allow obstructions making God’s will not to happen: lack of faith, lack of prayer life and choosing to be lukewarm and a passive observer. Faith, prayer and action are the foundations of a true disciple of Christ, which is built in the home.
In perspective, this Sunday’s readings are challenging our families to imitate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In the First Reading (Sir. 3:2-6, 12-14), the prophet describes how to please God, starting first with one’s own family. Before we even think of becoming Christ’s followers, we are told how to show respect for our own parents. Joseph was able to prove that he is a reliable protector of Jesus. Consider this: no other saint owns the distinction of being the earthly protector of Jesus and Mary, two of the most important persons in history. This was despite the hardships and challenges prevailing during that period: there are the human predators in Herod and his army, deserts providing various threats to the Child as they journey during those times and the mystery of the Child Jesus. But Joseph chose God above all. He was obedient and faithful to the Lord. He didn’t need proof from God in order to follow Him; his faith and trust is enough.
Let us then reflect on these prescriptions on how to live a family life pleasing to the Lord. How close (or how far) are we to imitating the quality of Joseph’s leadership in his earthly family? How can our souls become closer to be like Joseph? How can we become “even just a shade” of Joseph in order to match God’s prescriptions?
“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Col. 3: 15a, 16a)
(PS. The Your Kids My Kids Foundation is still looking for kind souls willing to sponsor the feeding of hungry children. For details please visit: “www.yourkidsmykids.org”, or send an email to: “email@example.com”. You’ll surely be blessed lighting up a child’s tummy for the next several months. And others will see Jesus in you!)