Today's readings are Gen 3, Ps 3, and Mt 2. I will reflect on the Gospel reading.
The last reading is so appropriate for this liturgical season. In Matthew 2, the Magi arrive, Herod slaughters children aged 2 and under, and Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt with their newborn son. The Magi, some scholars believe, were Zoroastrian priests from Persia. Although they were not Jewish, they were the first to see the infant Jesus and worshiped Him. "They prostrated themselves and did him homage" (vs. 11). This Jesus had not come to save only the Jews but the Gentiles as well. However, the birth of Jesus had the adverse effect on Herod who called for the killing of all children aged two and under. It is because Herod knew the identity of the boy that he felt threatened by the birth of Jesus. He knew that the only one more powerful than him had been born. The Magi and Herod both understood the power hidden in Jesus, but they reacted differently to this Good News. When Jesus speaks to me or when people speak about Jesus do I receive the Good News in joy like the Magi or do I feel threatened by God's message like Herod?
No matter how hard Herod tried to destroy Jesus, he could not. But this is not all. Matthew explains that the events of Jesus' nativity were not coincidence but fulfilled Old Testament prophesy. Mary and Joseph went into exile in Egypt with their son but later returned to Israel once Herod died. God spoke to Joseph saying, Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead" (vs. 20). God's message to Joseph, the footnotes explain, is the same as His message to Moses thousands of years before. Moses was to return to Egypt and to Pharaoh "for all the men who sought your life are dead" (Ex 4:19). Moses, though a mere man, saved the Hebrews of Egypt. Now, the Son of God came into the world to save all humanity.
Prayer: Lord, may I never forget that you created me for a purpose. Even if your Will calls me into the desert may I never seek to do my own will in opposition to Yours, for I know that "all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Tomorrow's Readings: Gen 4, Ps 4, Mt 3