The escape and return of the Holy Family

The flight into Egypt.

The Magi left, and an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel said “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the baby and his mother and stay there until I tell you it is safe to return. Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.”

That very night he got up, and taking Mary and the child, escaped to Egypt. They stayed there until King Herod died. This fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea who said: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

MT 2:13-15

The massacre of the innocents

Herod flew into a rage when he realized that the Magi had outwitted him. He gave orders that all male children who were two years or less who lived in and around Bethlehem were to be massacred. This was because the Magi had told him that the star first appeared two years earlier.

This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah who said “Cries of tears and mourning were heard in Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children, and she was unable to be consoled because they are dead.”

MT 2:16-18

The return to Nazareth.

Herod died, and an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph while he was in Egypt, saying “Get up! Take the child and his mother and return to Israel, because those who wanted to kill the child are dead.”

Joseph immediately traveled to Israel with Jesus and Mary. While on the way he learned that Herod’s son, Archelaus, was king over Judea, so he was afraid to travel there. He was warned in a dream as well, so he went to Galilee instead and settled in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled the words of the prophets who said “He will be called a Nazarene.”

MT 2:19-23

Jesus grew up in Nazareth, becoming strong, wise, and filled with God’s grace.

LK 2:40

In his father’s house.

The family travel to Jerusalem for the Passover festival every year. When he was 12 years old, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem while his family traveled back home to Nazareth. His parents didn’t notice his absence the first day because they thought he was walking with friends among all the other travelers. Then they began to look for him among their friends and relatives. Not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to continue their search. They finally found him after three days. He was sitting among the teachers in the Temple complex, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him talk was amazed at the depth of his understanding and answers. His parents were astonished when they saw him.

Mary said “Son! Why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been worried sick looking for you.” Jesus replied “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he was saying.

Then he returned to Nazareth and obeyed them, and Mary stored up this story in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and height, as well as in favor with God and people.

LK 2:41-52

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Manna. One day at a time with God.

I used to be really worried about money. It seemed as soon as I got a bonus or had an unexpected windfall of money, a huge expense would come up. I was never able to add to our savings. Sure, I’ve got some money there, but not enough to feel safe about. I don’t want to live hand-to-mouth. My parents did that and it wasn’t pretty. In a way it is a mercy that they died young because they certainly didn’t have any money set aside for when they got older.

Then I heard about manna as a test. Remember manna? It was what the Jews ate in the desert for forty years. They walked in the hot sun, with no homes, with no real possessions. They had no idea where they were going other than where God was leading them. Every day was difficult – but every day they had food in the form of manna.

It wasn’t that great, but it got them through. Every now and then some of them would complain and ask for something else, but it always made them sick. Manna was exactly what they needed. It was boring, sure, but it kept them strong enough to get through that ordeal and make it to their new home.

God knew what they needed and provided it. What they wanted wasn’t good for them. Isn’t this always the way? We think we know better than God, and when we get what we ask for, it just gets in our way.

Here’s the really interesting thing about manna. It was one day at a time. Every day of the week, except Saturday, they would get manna. It was just enough for that day and no more. Every day they had to trust that food would come to them. They couldn’t save up.

Saturday was different. Being the Sabbath, it was a day of rest. The only exception to the pattern was on Fridays, where they would get a double portion of manna so they didn’t have to work to gather it up on the Sabbath.

God gave manna not just to feed them, but as a test. It was to see if they trusted that God would provide for them. It was a test to see if they would submit to God’s commandments and be God’s people.

The same thing can be said about money. God knows what we need.

Here are the Bible verses in question (all are NIV) —–

Exodus 16:1-5

The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

Deut. 8:1-5

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Deut. 8:16

16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.