Our Gospel reading for today is the story of Joseph listening to the angel who spoke through his dreams, causing him to uproot his family and flee to a foreign country.
If the Holy Family were to seek refuge in the U.S. today as they did all those centuries ago in Egypt, a report much like this might be generated:
“This family of asylum-seekers is questionable at best. The head of household, Joseph, says that Herod, the corrupt dictator of the country from which they have fled, is seeking to kill their son. There is no apparent basis for this highly improbable allegation other than a couple of dreams this man relates in which he is purportedly warned by an angel.
“In addition, there is some abnormality in the relationship between this man and the child. This family comes from a culture where sexual relations outside of wedlock are punishable by stoning, and yet the child was obviously conceived before the couple was married. When questioned as to whether the child is his son, Joseph hesitates.
“The mother, Mary, is young and abnormally self-assured. She appears to suffer from the delusion that she and her child will be protected by supernatural forces. Is this a postpartum psychosis or a psychological issue of longer duration?
“The family claims that they would be residing in the U.S. only temporarily, hoping to return to their country when Herod is no longer in power.
“At the very least asylum should be denied Joseph, since he likely has no biological relationship with the purportedly threatened child. The mother, Mary, is not a reliable source of information. We have to ask: how likely is it that her child is perceived as a threat by such a powerful man as is Herod? Perhaps Herod’s recent Purge of Innocents has sparked this woman’s fantasy.
“My recommendation is to deny asylum to this entire family.”
Each family that awaits judgment at the borders of the U.S. is a holy family. Not only is each beloved of God, but each has a potential destiny of profound benefit to the world. The cynical assumptions that are the basis for turning away asylum-seekers are not conducive to the creative manifestation of the Holy Spirit. God’s perspective is very different from ours.
Dear Creator, help us, I pray, to see from your large point of view. Amen.
Laurie Gudim is a writer, religious iconographer, and spiritual director living in Ft. Collins, CO. To get to know her a little better visit everydaymysteries.com.