I know it’s not Friday, but . . .
Today is the day that the church celebrates the “Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” Merriam-Webster defines ‘epiphany’ as “a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.” Indeed, the church’s season of Epiphany is all about the revelation of the Lordship of Christ to various peoples, beginning with the “Wise Men from the East.”
I had something of an epiphany this morning, as I was reading today’s meditation from Forward Day by Day, an Episcopal daily devotional based on the Scripture readings appointed for each day by the lectionary. I read this every morning and send a copy of it, along with a note, by e-mail to my mother. Today’s meditation began with, “May I see some ID please?” The author goes on to ponder, “I wonder what identification the Holy Family would have presented? In today’s Gospel, we follow them from Judea to Egypt and north to Galilee.” Matthew tells us that Mary and Joseph were fleeing with Jesus to Egypt because King Herod was “about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Matthew goes on to say, “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted . . . he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.”
Regardless of what you think about the validity of the story (the massacre of the “Holy Innocents” is not reported outside of the Gospel of Matthew), it can be instructive to us—today, in the United States of America. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were immigrants, fleeing oppression in their own land. Whether or not they were illegal immigrants is debatable, considering that both Egypt and Judea were under Roman rule at the time and the idea of passports to travel is probably a medieval invention, although letters and other documentation may have been required of some travelers as far back as 450 BCE. It would be almost certain that Joseph and Mary would have had no such letters or documentation in their travels.
Illegal or not, they were fleeing to another country in hopes of saving their child. And, that’s my ‘epiphany’—so many of our so-called ‘Christian’ politicians and fellow citizens would certainly have stopped them at the border. Had Jesus been traveling alone, he might have been detained and sent back in an expedited manner, possibly confronted by “angry crowds” blocking him from entering their communities. If that had happened to Jesus, what would Walmart and Hobby Lobby have done to achieve their bottom lines in the month of December?!
Oh . . . I hope that everyone had “Happy Honda Days.”