FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS – YEAR
9-12 year olds
Last week, we thought about Joseph who never speaks in the Gospels, but whose actions speak louder than words. God speaks, and Joseph acts. He listens to God who speaks to him in his dreams.
In the Gospel reading this Sunday, we hear about three of those dreams, that result in 1) Joseph taking his family away from their home country of Israel to Egypt when it is no longer safe for them to stay;
2) the little family returning to Israel after Herod dies;
3) and settling in Nazareth, a safe town away from danger, where Jesus can grow up in safety.
As Joseph listens to God's will and participates in the Plan of God, he also fulfils the scriptures. We know that for hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God revealed parts of the Plan to the prophets. God showed the prophets what God was doing at that moment in time, and what God would do in the fullness of time.
St. Matthew is careful to tell us how the scriptures are being fulfilled. For example, he tells us that in the scriptures God says,
“Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
In days past, the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. God calls Moses to lead the people out of slavery into freedom. God gives them the Torah, the Law, which is a light to guide their path. This is a huge gift that the Jewish people share with the world. In scripture, the Jewish people are called "Israel" and Israel is named God's "firstborn son". Out of Egypt, God has called God's son.
In today's Gospel, in the fullness of time, we see Joseph, in response to God's call, bringing Jesus out of Egypt--a refuge, a place of safety--back to Israel, where he will grow up. When Jesus is grown, he will begin to preach about the Kingdom of God, and fulfill his role in the Plan of God. Out of Egypt, God has called God's son.
If God does this in days past, and God does this in the fullness of time, does God continue to do this today? Does God change?
In Baptism, we become God's children. So...does God call us out of Egypt???
Does God call us out of slavery into freedom? When we are free, can we share scripture with others?
Does God call us out of a place of safety so we can grow to preach about the Kingdom of God? Are we also called to participate in the plan of God?
And...when we listen to God like Joseph does, do we also fulfil the scriptures?
What do you think?