The Holy Family
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - December 29, 2019 - 12:00am

This is the final Sunday of the year 2019 and today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, something that we have learned through all the years when we took retreats, attended recollections, and read the Bible to study God’s plan for the salvation of humankind. He apparently did not want the second person in the Holy Trinity to simply appear in the desert and claim to be the Messiah. We shall discuss this as we talk about the Gospel reading today on the flight into Egypt when we read the gospel according to Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23.

“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.”

* * *

Before we talk about the Feast of the Holy Family, we must never forget that yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which is also called Childermas or Innocents’ Day, a very early Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. This feast is observed by Western churches on December 28 and in the Eastern churches on December 29. The slain children were regarded by the early church as the first Christian martyrs.

Today children are still vulnerable, except in very Catholic countries like the Philippines. In the United States, thanks to a Supreme Court Decision called Roe vs. Wade, at least 50 million babies are killed inside the wombs of their mothers each year --killed by their own mothers for their promiscuity in sex with men usually not their husbands. It is a great hope that a new team in the US Supreme Court might change the Roe vs. Wade ruling, but until that happens, abortion in America is still legal. If you killed an unborn eagle in its egg, you’d end up in prison, but you can kill babies as it is legal. But without any doubt, it is immoral to kill the innocents!

In Communist China, millions of babies are aborted, mostly girls. This is why there are so many males in China these days. While they have abandoned the one-child policy, abortion in China is still as legal as it has always been. Unborn children’s lives are always in danger of being aborted.

Our gospel today gives us an idea of how the Holy Family fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. Picture this in your mind; the image of St. Joseph leading the donkey carrying the Blessed Virgin Mary who is holding the Baby Jesus in her arms as they cross the desert into Egypt. It is an image hard for me to remove from my mind. In the 1970s the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the roof of a Coptic church in the full view of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians including President Nasser to show to Egypt that the Blessed Mother continue to bless that nation.

After King Herod died, an angel appeared to Joseph and he returned to Israel and took residence in Nazareth, which is why our Lord was often referred to as a Nazorean.

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