Sunday 29 December: Matthew 2:13 Matthew 2:132:13 After they [the magi] had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.' ContextThe magi (kings), guided by a star, came to adore Jesus, the new born true king. When they arrived at Jerusalem they had asked of Herod, the actual king, (not a born king, but a self-made king of violence and wealth), where they could find the born king. Herod was perturbed and decided to kill this born king. InformationThe stories of the childhood of Jesus are meant as an overture. They are telling about the adult Jesus. In the childhood we hear already the themes which will be worked out in the stories of the grown-up Jesus. Here we hear that - the adult - Jesus will not be accepted by his own people. For Matthew it is important to show how Jesus (the adult Jesus) from the beginning fulfilled the prophetic announcements in the Jewish Holy Books (Old Testament). In this text Jesus fulfils a prophecy of Hosea (11:1): ‘When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.’ Matthew, who is writing this fragment, suggests that Jesus took the place of Israel, the beloved child. Picture Meditation Along the diagonal from the top left to the bottom right is the bed of the Holy Family.The intimacy of the scene is striking. The arms of Joseph around mother and child suggests tenderness and a feeling of safety. The red colour of the blanket and of Mary’s dress emphasises the warmth of the situation. Notice that Joseph’s right arm and hand are a little bit longer and larger than the left one so that they embrace mother and child. In the top right corner is the angel, not with wings, but with a different skin colour. His face and hands express the terrible content of his message.In the bottom left corner (under the bed!), the content of the angels’ message is made visible: armed soldiers are on their way to kill the child. Looking at the picture I imagine myself in the place of each of the pictured persons. 1. Where and when was I in the situation of Joseph? Where and when did I have the feelings Joseph apparently has?2. Where and when was I in the situation of Mary? Where and when did I have the feelings Mary apparently has?3. Where and when was I in the situation of the child Jesus? Where and when did I have the feelings Jesus apparently has?4. Where and when was I in the situation of the angel? Where and when did I have the feelings the angel apparently has?5. Where and when was I in the situation of the soldiers? Where and when did I have the feelings the soldiers apparently have? I finish my mediation with a personal talk to one of the pictured figures.