Sunday, March 3, 2013

5th Sunday of St. Joseph

Flight to Egypt, Giotto, 14th c.

Joys and Sorrows - II

[Fifth Sorrow and Joy]

Having at last found a place for themselves in Bethlehem, the Holy Family received the unexpected homage of the Magi with their precious gifts for the divine Child. But when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and remain there until I tell thee. For Herod will seek the child to destroy him." (Matt 2:13)

Joseph's great joy at the visit of the Magi did not last long. He had to abandon his new-found home and business to flee to a foreign land. Herod wanted to kill the Child. Joseph's joy was changed to dread. Once again, God was testing him. Joy and sorrow are never far from one another in souls that love God.

[Sixth Sorrow and Joy]

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." (Matt 2:19)

... At first, he [Joseph] thought they would be going to Judaea, most probably to Bethlehem. Once again on this occasion God did not spare his faithful servant anxiety and difficulty. On their way out of Egypt Josph learned that Archelaus, Herod's wicked son, had assumed the throne in Judaea. Joseph guarded too great a treasure to expose it to this sort of danger. He was afraid to go there. While reflecting on what would be best for Jesus, Joseph was told in a dream to continue onward to Galilee. We take note that Jesus is always at the centre of Jospeh's concerns. Upon their arrival in Nazareth, the Holy Family renewed their acquaintance with relatives and old friends. At long last, this family could settle into a home.

[Seventh Sorrow and Joy]

In this final sorrow and joy we contemplate the time when Jesus was lost, and found in the Temple...

Perhaps worst of all was the apparent silence of God. She, the Virgin, was the Father's favourite daughter. He, Joseph, had been chosen to care for the two of them, and he too had experienced God's intervention in human affairs ... How is it that on this occasion there was no one to advise him? How, after two days of crying out to heaven, of incessant searching and with ever-mounting anxiety for the child, could God remain deaf to his supplication and his suffering? (F. Suarez, Joseph of Nazareth) ...

On the third day, when every possibility had been exhausted, suddenly they found Jesus. We can only imagine the wave of joy which must have swept over Mary and Joseph when they discovered him.

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