By Deacon Virginia Jenkins-Whatley
Sermon: Sunday, January 3, 2021
Sermon: Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
In the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Most of us can think of times when we wished that a
warning of some kind might have been very beneficial.
Just a hint of what is about to happen that might cause
us to stop and think, pause or do something different to
avoid something unpleasant from happening. Just a
whisper telling us to turn left instead of right.
That is not life as we live it. We live by our faith, act on
instinct and make our own choices. Our decisions,
though guided by God, we make on our own which at
times are not the right ones.
There are people that rely very heavily on their dreams
and one would say that they are delusional. Some may
have judged Joseph in that way.
The past two weeks we have rejoiced in preparation of
and the birth of Christ filled with the glory and the
wonder. In the reading of today’s gospel, leads us from
celebration to a not so pretty picture.
The reading is based on first, the call on the Holy Family
to go to Egypt, second what happens back home while
they are in Egypt and third, their return to Israel.
The story of Jesus’s birth has spread across the land and
now that the child has received symbolic and important
gifts received from the Wise Men, the family must run
for their lives. A warning in a dream from an Angel of
God hastened Joseph to move his family in fear that
harm would come to the young Messiah and his family
ordered by King Herod.
As we focus on this aspect of Jesus life, we are reminded
that Jesus himself was a refugee and that he understands
the plight of refugees in our time and he has compassion
In comparision to Jesus, refugees today especially those
coming to America , displaced from their homeland as
well as having their children taken away by politics, war
and poverty, we need to remember that this is integral to
the story of the God whom we worship and remember
our own responsibility towards the refugees in our midst.
Getting to Egypt did not stop the executions back home
as Herod tried to find and kill the holy child.
He learned that the Wise Men did not tell him the truth
therefore he ordered the killing of innocent boys under
the age of 2 in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas .
Here again in our history there are records of human
trafficking and other evil acts in which children are
brutally abused and killed due to inhumane acts of
cruelty based on religious or political reasoning.
For a third time, Joseph is once again visited in a dream
by an Angel of God informing him of Herod’s passing and
told to return to Israel. Learning that Archelaus, son of
Herod was now in charge who reigned in proximity to his
father, the family would not go to Israel but instead
traveled to Nazareth where they would be safe, so that
what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled,
“He would be called a Nazorean”.
A life lesson for all of us is that though we may
experience joy, amazement, wonders and peace, there
are those experiencing pain, fear,loss and suffering.
We must remember that God does not cause evil but is
present in times of distress in that voice guiding us, in
sending us to safety, in healing our pain and easing our
suffering and always in the presence of our lives.
As we enter this new year, may we continue to pray,
open our hearts and minds and listen for God’s voice for
guidance and comfort.