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The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you”….When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet.
Mary and Joseph, the two most highly favored people on God’s list, are on the run. In fact, they will be fleeing, hiding and escaping for what appears to be their entire life. Is this how God treats his friends? No! God treats his friends very well. It is evil and confused men continue to pursue and attempt to discredit and destroy spiritual people. I think it is important that we get it in our heads that we can try to dialogue with the world, but in the end, the world will always try to gobble us up!
When I flew from Dallas to New York City, I carried with me my Mass kit. In the kit, I had a special container filled with wine for Mass. I did not check-in the metal box because I did not want to spend an extra fifty dollars for one extra piece of luggage. So I carried it with me and as soon as TSA scanned it, they called me over. They opened the Mass kit and asked me what was inside the container. I told them it was special wine for Holy Mass. The guard told me that I could not take it on board. I looked at him and told him that it was necessary for me to celebrate Mass. He did not seem convinced. He asked his supervisor and to my amazement I was allowed to bring it on board! The next day, for my flight from New York to Tel Aviv I had to go through another security check. Again, the TSA guard told me that I could not bring the wine on board, that is was strictly forbidden. I told the guard that it was for Mass. She told me that she was Catholic and understood but that I could not bring it on board. Then, to my amazement, she asked another supervisor and the supervisor told me that it would be ok. Then, right before boarding the airplane, we had a second security check. Again, my Mass kit was examined (for a third time now!) and again I was told by a different guard that I could not bring this wine on board. But, once again, to my amazement and without a single word from me, the same guard reversed himself and allowed me to bring the wine on board! So three times I was told I could not carry this wine on board and all three times they eventually allowed me to bring the wine on board. What is truly bizarre is that not a single time did they allow me to being my bottled water on board! I guess they thought that I could take the wine and turn it back to water!!!
How God loves to test us! How God loves to make us totally dependent and innocent to his Will and Love.
Just a few hours ago, after an almost fourteen hour flight (we waited for almost four hours at the gate), I arrived in Tel Aviv. On the way to Jerusalem, we stopped at a Church built upon the spot were King David, after defeating the enemy in Jerusalem, settled the Ark of the Covenant. This spot has been sacred for over six thousand years and I celebrated Mass there! I felt like a child in a cookie jar! Oh the beauty of first time experiences!
O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Today’s opening prayer)