“THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED”
Saint Matthew 2. 13-23
Sunday after New Year: 4 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
“That it might be fulfilled.” The Lord is fullness. He wants you to be filled.
You don’t need psychologists telling you that January is a depressing month. These days are the valley after the pinnacle of the Holy Days. Change and decay in all around you see. Foolish people make New Year resolutions that are about effort. Such efforts produce “blueness” when “will-power” doesn’t last much past half-time of the Rose Bowl. You simply pray the Holy Ghost constrains you ever deeper into the Word and into receiving the Sacrament.
Your despair does not reach the level of the mothers of the dead baby boys in Bethlehem. But your struggles are yours and they hit you with an immediate pain that transcends empathy over past historical truths.
Who will free you from your captivity in the Egypt of sickness and disappointment?
The Lord acts. The Lord is here for you!
The angel of The Lord came to Joseph. But it was no Elisha-like deliverance with an army of Seraphim slaughtering Assyrians in military triumph.
The angel, the minister of the Trinity, gave Joseph a saving Word but it was a Word of the Cross. It was deliverance by way of fleeing and hiding. It was good news of escape from Herod by waiting among strangers in a strange land. The Word always gives what it says or requires.
“That it might be fulfilled.” The good news to Eve promised the deliverer would be her Seed and would have His heal bruised. The Son of God took on flesh and veiled His Divinity in humiliation. His heal was caused to flee His birth-place and His mother’s home. His heal experienced much more work, dirt, sweat, strife, and worse in His next 30 years of visible presence.
You do not fear, love, and trust in God above all things. You fight the Spirit’s attempts to sanctify you by deeper immersion in Word and Supper; in love and service. Thank God the Paraclete moved Saint Joseph to action even as He had once pushed Abram out of Ur. In time of trial your reaction is either fight or flight. God’s answer is that “your” reaction is not what wins the day but rather His doing does what has to be done!
The young Christ allowed His faithful Guardian and the Blessed Theotokos to spirit Him away in darkness and frailty. This was a foretaste of the Cross at Calvary—darkness and humility.
For your lack of trust Jesus trusted. Jesus trusted His heavenly Father and He trusted the Word’s work upon the hearts of Mary and Joseph. For Joseph’s sin, Abraham’s sin, Mary’s sin, and your sin, Jesus obeyed and paid.
Like Jacob’s son Joseph, this New Testament Joseph dwelled in a foreign land. The dreams of the first both offended brothers and foretold a role as deliverer of Israel from famine and death. The Carpenter was an offense to his family even as his Holy Charge would later be. This second Joseph would also sojourn in Egypt until the time was right, “that it might be fulfilled.”
The Hebrews had been in bondage to Pharaoh. God’s chosen flock imprisoned and mistreated. Moses was sent to bring them home but ultimately it was not Moses…for the Law can never deliver one to Peace. It was Joshua who led the lambs over Jordan into Canaan. “That it might be fulfilled.”
Jesus, was eventually carried back to Mary’s hometown, no doubt on a donkey, presaging His future Jerusalem entrance. Then there would be cheers of Hosanna instead of great weeping in Rama. But the weeping would recommence at the foot of the tree—sorrow by a Virgin, widowed, and pierced by Her Son’s death; a death for you! “That it might be fulfilled.”
There are Herods everywhere. There is even a Herod within your breast. Repent. Herod’s efforts were thwarted by Jesus’ passive lamb-like smallness. Another Herod’s efforts, along with the Sanhedrin’s, were defeated by Jesus’ passive lamb-like paschal sacrifice.
God’s Son, the 12 tribes, were called out of Israel when the time was right. His people came to a temporary earthly home.
God’s only begotten Son, the Christ, was called out of Israel in the fullness of time to be your fullness. Jesus today delivers you into a permanent sheepfold.
The “Israel,” i.e. The Son of God, comes to His “Israel,” i.e. the sons of God—the Church of the New Testament. You are carried back to Nazareth. You are carried to the root and the branch of the Tree of Life when you receive its fruit—Jesus Christ.
Your slavery in Egypt, all Egypt’s, is over. Your captivity to sadness and sickness is loosed. Your emptiness is filled by Jesus.
The “when,” is now. The “where” is here. The “how” is by His Word and Meal. The “it” is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He forgives you! Peace to you!
“That is might be fulfilled.” Be filled!
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost