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The flight to Egypt

Gospel Reading: Mt 2:13-18
When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.

Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:/ A voice was heard in Ramah,/ sobbing and loud lamentation;/ Rachel weeping for her children,/ and she would not be consoled,/ since they were no more.

Imagine the sorrow of the countless mothers who have failed to hide their children! The Gospel reports that Herod orders the massacre of the children because the Magi have deceived him. Earlier, when Herod learned from the Magi that a new king of Israel had been born, he right away sought the Child’s life. Herod was afraid he would be dethroned. He could not stand a rival. History, in fact, tells us that Herod suffered from paranoia. He could afford to have even members of his own family killed if they threatened his rule. That the Magi have deceived Herod is only an excuse for killing all the innocent children, two years old and under. Such age is calculated to make sure that the child Jesus will be among those killed. As Herod is frantic with his evil scheme, God works on another plan.

Through an angel and a dream, God commands Joseph to take the Child and his mother to Egypt where Herod has no jurisdiction. And the whole family should stay there until further notice. What life can be in a foreign land! Why take refuge in Egypt, not in some other part of Israel? Matthew wants that somehow a prophecy has to be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Are you afraid of innocent children? If so, remove the Herod that is in you or you will become a murderer.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.