For the Sake of Children
Can you think of any experiences where parents have to be brave to help their children? Joseph once again pays attention to a dream and flees to Egypt for the safety of his family. He is faithful and courageous. His is a radical action. The trek is long, mostly through wilderness, without provisions of water, and filled with danger from bandits.
Joseph and Mary immediately exercise their role as protectors of their child in dire circumstances. They become refugees, escaping the tyranny of King Herod, who had ordered the death of their child.
As you read and watch the news, see if you discover men (and women) who are willing to be both bold and brave for others, especially for the sake of their children. We learn about refugees/asylum seekers who are escaping the tyranny of governments and leaders who prey on the poor, the unwanted. We hear of women and children who flee abusive family relationships—sexual, psychological and verbal abuse that threaten their lives. Often they too have to leave without provisions or assurance of a place of safety as their final destination.
In his homily for the Feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis points out that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees. Why would a savior arrive as a baby, when he could have come as a king? as a refugee? as homeless?
… Therefore, as we fix our gaze on the Holy Family of Nazareth as they were forced to become refugees, let us think of the tragedy of those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and of slave labour.
… Jesus wanted to belong to a family who experienced these hardships, so that no one would feel excluded from the loving closeness of God.
Today we pray and act to accept our responsibilities as families to provide for the safety and security of our own children as well as those of strangers. We also pray for the many “angels” who warn of danger and guide others to safety. And we pray for new understandings of what it means to flee danger and act with courage, to sacrifice anything and everything for the future of children everywhere.