Following Christ’s humble birth in Bethlehem, Wise Men (the Magi) travel from the East (likely Persia), compelled by the sign of a star in the sky; this fulfills a 1200 year-old prophecy of Christ’s birth (Num 24:17). The Wise Men mistakenly disclose their mission to the evil King Herod but warned in a dream by God, the Wise Men do not reveal Christ’s location.

Herod poses a grave threat to Jesus.  Responding in faith, absolute obedience and urgency to the angel’s warnings about Herod’s murderous intent, St. Joseph immediately acts to protect the young Virgin Mother and the newborn Babe Jesus. Waking from the dream in the middle of the night, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt, an arduous and dangerous journey of several hundred miles. The Magi’s gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh perhaps sustained the Holy Family as Joseph sought work as a carpenter in Egypt.

Again visited by an angel in a dream, Joseph is instructed to return to Israel after Herod the Great’s death and leads the Holy Family out of Egypt, fulfilling Hosea’s prophecy of the Messiah (Hos 11:1) and which echoes Israel’s deliverance in the Exodus. Realizing that Herod’s evil son now rules in Judea, St. Joseph leads the Holy Family to Nazareth in Galilee. Settling in Nazareth also fulfills prophecy: Isaiah 11:1 foresees the Messiah rising as a bud (neser) from the stump of Jesse (David’s father).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ is protected by the Father through the intercession of angels. Son of Man, Christ is protected by His foster father Joseph and cared for by the Virgin Mary. Member of the Holy Family, Christ reasserts God’s preferred plan for family.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) While Christ could have entered in the Incarnation is a variety of ways (coming as a fully grown man), marvel that God reaffirms His vision for the family (established with Adam and Eve) with the indissoluble marriage of one woman (Mary) to one man (Joseph) for the raising of children (Jesus).

2) Many reject God’s plan for marriage (choosing single parenthood, unwed “partners”, divorce, homosexual “marriage”) which deprives children of one or both parents and the comforts of parents who make a life-long commitment to marriage; others suffer due to the abandonment or death of a spouse. Pray for Christ to have mercy on all men, women and especially children who are living outside of His plan for marriage.

3) Given the widespread breakdown of the family, many young men lack the guidance of fathers. Build a devotion to St. Joseph and pray for Christ to help you to grow in spiritual fatherhood.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries