Matthew 2:14-18 (NIVUK)
14 So [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’
16 When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 ‘A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.’
This week the story of the unjust treatment of Post Office workers has been in the news. A terrible situation that should never have happened. Life can be harsh and unfair at times, something the Gospel writers don’t ignore: Mary, and Jesus after her, are prone to pointed fingers and snide remarks about Jesus’ parentage; his birth occurs in less than ideal situations; and the family have to run from Herod who goes on this murderous rampage to try to secure his reign. For Jesus, this continues as opposition grows against his ministry as an adult. He is constantly having to be alert to those who would cause him harm, until the time comes and he gives his life as they arrest and execute him. This should alert us to the possibility that our life of faith will not always be plain sailing. I wonder if it should also spur us on, like Jesus, to seek justice for victims of oppression and unfair treatment.
Father, help us to be alert to the needs and experiences of others, and to be ready to stand with them when treated unfairly.