The First Sunday after Christmas
REFLECT: “In today's Gospel episode [Matthew 2:13-23], the Holy Family is in big trouble. Mary, Joseph and the Child Jesus are homeless. They are refugees. Fearful that it could be the last day for the child, they are naturally, on the run. Matthew tells us that an angel of the Lord had appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Get up. Take the Child and His mother with you and escape into Egypt ... because Herod intends to search for the Child and do away with Him" (Mt. 2:13). Loyal to both God and family, Joseph gets up, follows the angel's instructions, journeys to that distant land and keeps the Child Jesus out of harm's way."
"Today’s gospel will not let us deny Herod’s existence. That doesn’t, however, mean that all is lost. It means that the world of Herod is the world into which Jesus is born. The world of Herod is the world in which Jesus puts our lives back together. The world of Herod is the world in which Jesus reveals God is with us and for us...Just like Joseph we stand in the middle between Jesus and Herod, between life and death, between the life-giver and the life-taker."
"Life after Christmas is almost never easy; not for us now, not for that family driving home, and it certainly wasn’t easy for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. As we continue to step forward into this uncertain time let us not hold fast to the decorations, and the pomp and circumstance, and the presents, and the meals, and all the other elements that make Christmas what it appears to be, but instead let us hold fast to the hymns we sang together as a church, let us hold fast to the fact that Christ is the light of the world that shines in the darkness, let us hold fast to the faith that we have in Jesus Christ as the Lord of all."
PRAY: "God of glory, your splendor shines from a manger in Bethlehem, where the Light of the world is humbly born into the darkness of human night. Open our eyes to Christ's presence in the shadows of our world, so that we, like him, may become beacons of your justice, and defenders of all for whom there is no room. Amen."