Holy Family

(written 12/27/2019)

Egypt Holy Family map.jpg

Out of Egypt I called my son.

Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt, to flee from the violence of Herod. As read at Holy Mass, the gospel does not provide any details about the Holy Family’s time in Egypt. But Egyptian Christians have preserved sites which the Holy Family visited there. According to Egyptian Christian tradition, the Holy Family spent three years in Egypt, traveling throughout the land—the land where their ancestors had been slaves. [Spanish]

Of old, in Egypt, God had shown His mighty power, working great miracles to free His beloved people from bondage.  Now God came in the flesh to Egypt, an infant fugitive. St. Joseph had brought the family there, trying to find peace, when Herod threatened bloody murder and slaughtered the innocent in the kingdom of Judah.

The Holy Family found peace and quiet in Egypt. Baby Jesus nursed at the breast, and was weaned–all while they were in Egypt. He listened to His foster father and His mother sing to Him the songs that King David had sung a thousand years earlier, the Psalms.

Forgive one another, as you have been forgiven…Bear with one another with compassion, kindness, humility, and patience…Be thankful.  Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

The Holy Family lived all this together, with sweetness and gentleness greater than we can imagine.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph show us the peace that the merciful love of Christ can bring to a household, to a town, to a country—to the world.

JMJLike I said, Christians in Egypt still venerate the places where the Holy Family sojourned. Pilgrims pray and light candles at the well where Our Lady drew water to use to bathe the little body of the infant Son of God. They have churches and monasteries at the points along the Nile where the Holy Family stopped on their journey.

Apparently, as the Holy Family traveled around Egypt, staying in various places for a few weeks or months at a time, they dwelt in a number of different types of humble accommodations, including in caves. Baby Jesus would have felt comfortable, since, as we discussed a few days ago, the stable where He was born was a little cave with an extended roof.

Let’s recognize that under the roof of our humble parish church, we come together under the same circumstances as the Holy Family traveling together in Egypt.  The God-man Jesus Christ, present with us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, makes a family out of us, and He gives us a share in His gentleness and peace.  His love binds us together. As time passes, we grow closer to Him and to each other.  Through our whole pilgrim lives we travel as wayfarers, like the Holy Family did, longing for our true home, which is with God.

Now, some of us, when we went to school, headed our all papers with the inscription JMJ at the very top. Stood for… Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Well, the two-thousand twentieth year of our Lord lies before us, like a blank sheet of paper. Let’s inscribe JMJ on the top. May we live the year to come in communion with the Holy Family.

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