make disciples

Go And Make Disciples

When we hear the words, “Go and make disciples,” it’s easy to think that Jesus is talking to someone else. After all, isn’t this what He told his Apostles? He wasn’t really talking to me, was He?

It’s easy to think that. But it’s wrong. Each of us, baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, is called to “go and make disciples.” This theme was chosen by the USCCB (United States’ Conference of Catholic Bishops) for the evangelization plan for the United States.

The  church, the people of God, has always been called to be an evangelizing church  sent by Jesus as he returned to the Father to: “Go and make disciples of  all nations…” There have been successes and failures in fulfilling this  commission of Jesus. The Second Vatican Council in our time gave a significant  thrust to this essential mission of the church.

What does it mean to evangelize? Are we meant to stand on a soapbox and preach? Should we sit our neighbors down and outline the Gospel for them? The US Bishops say,

Evangelization, then, has both an inward and an outward direction. Inwardly it calls for our continued receiving of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our ongoing conversion both individually and as Church. It nurtures us, makes us grow, and renews us in holiness as God’s people. Outwardly evangelization addresses those who have not heard the Gospel or who, having heard it, have stopped practicing their faith, and those who seek the fullness of faith. It calls us to work for full communion among all who confess Jesus but do not yet realize the unity for which Christ prayed. Pope John Paul Il, in his encyclical on missionary activity, summed up the three objectives of mission: to proclaim the Gospel to all people; to help bring about the reconversion of those who have received the Gospel but live it only nominally; and to deepen the Gospel in the lives of believers.

The first step, then, in evangelization is to make sure our own house (so to speak) is in order. We must seek holiness for ourselves, as we cannot give what we do not have. Then, we can reach out to others in faith. There are those who say, “Your life may be the only ‘Bible’ someone ever reads.” This means our actions, words and our contact with others should always be a demonstration of our life for Christ and for others. However, we cannot leave it simply at that. We are meant to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. We are meant to share the Good News: that Christ has lived, died and been risen for our sins, and that death no longer has a hold on us. The freedom of Christ is meant for all, not a chosen few.

As we continue to prepare for the Lenten season, let us be aware of the fact that Christ has called us to go and make disciples. He desires that all people know Him and the freedom from sin He offers. If we truly believe in this Good News, we cannot keep it to ourselves. With the US Bishops that,

We pray that our Catholic people will be set ablaze with a desire to live their faith fully and share it freely with others. May their eagerness to share the faith bring a transformation to our nation and, with missionary dedication, even to the whole world. We ask God to open the heart of every Catholic, to see the need for the Gospel in each life, in our nation and on our planet.

Together, let us go and make disciples, with joy!


Are You Strangling Yourself With Worry?

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

The Gospel for the 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time has Jesus being practical: Why are you worried? God is in control. Your faith should be in Him alone, and that should give you peace of mind.

We know how hard this is. If you’re a parent, you know that, from the moment you become a parent, you view the world as an incredibly dangerous place. Everything becomes a potential hazard: Lock up all the sharp knives! Make sure the car seat is properly installed! And it seems to get worse as your child gets older: Driving?? Who thought teens driving was a good idea?!

Maybe you are constantly worried about money, or lack thereof. Perhaps the political climate has you on edge. Or are you worried about your job? Our lives seem to become a constant battleground of worry and faith, of anxiety and peace.

The word “worry” has its roots in the Old English meaning, “to strangle.” This seems accurate: we want the control of taking our worries by the throat, so to speak, but they always seem to get the better of us, and we end up getting strangled! And this turnabout is one that leads to spiritual death: our constant worrying becomes an obsession, forcing out faith and replacing it with fear.

Christ does not want us to live a life of fear. He wants us to have lives rooted in faith, hope and love. Fear destroys this, if we let it. It’s easy to disregard this Gospel passage as sort of a “self-help” Christian advice column, but that is far too simplistic. Christ’s Good News is that the very worst that this world has to offer (sin and death) no longer have a hold on us. They can no longer strangle us, if you will. Christ drives out all fear, all death, all hopelessness. Instead, He brings us hope. He brings us peace of mind. He brings us eternal life.


Advent: God Transcends Human Opinions


A couple years ago, I joined many of my friends in attending the episcopal ordination of a wonderful priest.  As we were waiting for the procession, many complaints were made regarding the appearance of the cathedral.  Finally, one of my priest friends asked me: “What do you think?”  My response was: “Read the bulletin and see how people are nourished from the altar of this cathedral!”

Jesus said to the crowds that when John the Baptist “came neither eating nor drinking, they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’” And when “the Son of Man came eating and drinking they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’” (Lk 11: 18-19).

People during the time of Jesus and my friends in front to that local cathedral have one thing in common: opinion has been formed and expectation has been set.  They expected the works of God to be within their frame of mind.

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed: “Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go” (Is. 48: 17).  Our Lord and our Redeemer will teach and lead us and not vice versa.  We should open our eyes to see the wonderful works of our Redeemer.  These works of God transcend our opinions and frame of mind.  They require our opening to God’s infinite power.

Indeed, we are preparing to celebrate a wonderful work our God, a marvelous exchange: God becomes man so that human beings can partake in the divine life.  Certainly, this act of God is beyond our human expectation. Amen.

Fr. Lam Le is today’s guest blogger, reflecting on the day’s Mass readings. A native of Vietnam, Fr. Lam is now pastor of St. John Paul II Parish and St. Mary Queen of Apostles in the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

courage hope

Advent: Seeking The Lord With Courage And Hope

Today’s Advent reflection for the 1st Friday of Advent, 2016

We enter Advent hopeful and anticipatory!  Like children waiting for Christmas?  Or is there something else much more meaningful that we can be doing during Advent?  For how much more can we hope?  Isaiah tells us that all good things are possible!  There is a gift here for everyone in this passage.  Those of us who are concerned about the environment may read that the earth will be restored.  Those of us in need of physical healing might read that we will be healed.  If we are in confusion or sadness, we will anticipate being lifted out of gloom and darkness.  The lowly and poor hear hope that those who tyrannize them or who are too lofty to care about them will disappear from their lives.  And what a relief to hear that evil will be cut off and the just will be vindicated!

In this passage Isaiah conveys a powerful message that the Lord God wants us to know that the Lord is in our midst!  There will be no mistaking that we will see the work of his hands.  The people of God will be so impressed they will reverence the God of Israel and keep his name holy.  The weak and wayward in spirit will acquire understanding and those who find fault will get redirected.  Wow!  That about includes everything on my Christmas list!

So what is our response to this amazing news?  Do we see Advent as the time to sit back and wait for all these good things to happen to and for us?  Like children wait for Santa Claus?  No, it can be more than that!  The Psalm for today says we can ask for even more than Isaiah says is coming.  We can ask for entry into the house of the Lord where we may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate the beauty of his temple all the days of our lives.  There we shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living.  But there is a catch.  The Psalmist says we have to wait… seems that one of the tensions with our faith is centered in all that God promises to us is already, but not yet.  There is a lot of waiting going on…..but it is a special kind of waiting, I think.

During Advent, this waiting is something like preparing for Christmas.  It is an active waiting in which we can reflect on what is it that we really need and want beyond that Christmas list.  Children prepare for Christmas by hoping and anticipating, but adults engage in the season by working to make it happen.  In many ways that is the difference between adults and children in terms of our faith as well.  Children aren’t good at waiting.  Becoming an adult means we learn to wait…..while actively engaging in life.   I like to practice Christmas the way I practice Advent, which is to anticipate and celebrate all of the events that lead up to it more than just the events on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  I like the busyness of the holiday season.  Christmas is the coming together of families and friends, the sharing of the blessings of hospitality and good food, and the thoughtfulness of considering how we might provide good cheer and good will through gift giving to those we love and those in need.  In those ways, many of us celebrate Christmas all year long.  It keeps us busy!

So then, what is so special about Advent?  I think it is a special time of lifting up our hope to a higher level of consciousness in our faith.  It is a time to wait for the fullness of the Lord with renewed courage.  It is a time to experience more deeply the light and salvation of the Lord in our lives.  That’s why we light all those candles!  And Advent is a time to really grapple with the darkness of our fears and our unbelief.  It is a time to be stouthearted, for what have we to fear?  Jesus tells us in Matthew that he can do anything for us according to our faith….if we just believe.  Like children who believe in Santa Claus?  No, like the adult people of God who will acquire even more understanding of the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living that is here, already.  It is the belief in the hope that the Lord can do anything.  No matter what our circumstances, all things are yet possible.  But to see and understand that, we must have courage in our refuge, in our light, and in our salvation.  So I pray with all of you, that Advent will be for each of us a time of lifting up our hope to a higher level.  I pray that Advent is for each of us a time of courageous hope and anticipation for a better world in which we will share all the gifts we have been given of faith, love, peace, joy, mercy, acceptance, hospitality, self-less giving, and a genuine sense of brotherhood with all of humanity.  If we believe in Jesus, we can do this with him, for him and in him.

[Throughout the 2016 Advent season, we will be bringing you guest posts from a variety of writers. Our hope is that each of these will be a meaningful way for you to slow down, pray well, and prepare for the coming of our Lord. Today’s guest blogger is Barbara Dilly of Creighton University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, reflecting on the Mass readings for Friday, December 2.]


Advent: Trust In The Lord Always

Today’s Advent reflection for the 1st Thursday of Advent, 2016

[Throughout the 2016 Advent season, we will be bringing you guest posts from a variety of writers. Our hope is that each of these will be a meaningful way for you to slow down, pray well, and prepare for the coming of our Lord. Today’s guest blogger is Fr. Scott Nolan, reflecting on the Mass readings for Thursday, December 1.]

Trust in the Lord forever, Isaiah invites us.  Trust in the Lord forever.  During this Advent Season we are invited to wait for the coming of the Lord, to prepare the way for Him to come into our world.  Today the book of Isaiah tells us to trust in God forever, to never stop trusting in God’s goodness for us.

And how, we ask, are we to do that?  The one who does the will of the Father in heaven is the one who will enter the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus tells us.  Trust in God and doing the Father’s will are interconnected; they are mutually enriching.  Indeed, Jesus goes on to tell us that doing the Father’s will is like building our house upon a solid foundation.  Perhaps we have seen what happens when a house lacks a solid foundation.  Jesus and those of His time certainly seem to know the devastating effects.

In this time of waiting on the Lord, on vigilance for His coming, we are invited to trust in the Lord, and to know that this trust is founded upon the solid foundation of His goodness for us, and our generous response to that.


Fr. Scott Nolan is a priest of the Diocese of Grand Rapids.  He is currently the pastor of St. Stephen Catholic Church and School in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew

St. Andrew: A Saint For Advent

Today’s Advent reflection for the 2nd Tuesday of Advent, 2016

[Throughout the 2016 Advent season, we will be bringing you guest posts from a variety of writers. Our hope is that each of these will be a meaningful way for you to slow down, pray well, and prepare for the coming of our Lord. Today’s guest blogger is Fr. Colin Mulhall, reflecting on the Mass readings for November 30, the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.]

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Apostle St. Andrew, the “first-called” of the Apostles.  He is so named because in the Gospel of John, he is the first of the Apostles to follow Jesus.  Andrew is the one who introduces Peter to Jesus in the Gospel of John.

It might be said that it’s because of a bit of fraternal nagging that Peter met Jesus and eventually became the Prince of the Apostles.  It is fitting that we celebrate his feast during Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.  Here was a man who was eagerly awaiting the coming of the Messiah, and was most likely a follower of John the Baptist.  When John pointed out Christ, the Lamb of God, Andrew was probably filled with curiosity, and followed Jesus, eventually being invited to “come and see” where He was staying.

The attitude of Andrew, that hopeful expectation of the coming of Christ, is the attitude we are all called to emulate this Advent season.  We are invited to commemorate the coming of the Christ Child, and to prepare ourselves for the triumphant return of Christ in glory.  St. Andrew reminds us Christians that our fundamental attitude is one of preparation and eager anticipation.  We are in a constant of state of tension, an eschatological tension, awaiting the definitive victory of Christ, which has been accomplished in the Paschal Mystery of His suffering, death, Resurrection and Ascension, but has yet to be fully realized.  St. Andrew teaches us what it looks like to wait with the certainty of a hope based in the sure promises of God in Christ Jesus.

Take the opportunity this Advent season to welcome Christ into your life in a new way, letting St. Andrew and all the Saints lead us all into deeper relationship with the Lord.

Fr. Colin Mulhall is associate pastor at St. Robert of Newminster Parish in Ada, MI.


last shall be first

And The Last Shall Be First

But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Mt. 19:30)

It is easy, sometimes, to make such sayings of Jesus into sentimental platitudes. We might think the “last” are the poor starving children in Africa or Asia our mothers told us about when we wasted food. Or maybe we think we are “last” because of the stack of bills next to us as we watch music and tv stars flaunt their wealth. We have a vision in our own minds of just who is “first” and who is “last.”

But our ways are not God’s ways. And turning Jesus’ teachings into fantasy is a risky business – for our souls. Madeleine Delbrêl (1904-1964) was a French author and poet. She tried to see people as God sees, and challenged others to do the same. She had this to say about the above quotes from the Gospel of Matthew:

The state of being characterized by the term “last” in this sense is not something that one creates for oneself. God allows it to happen to the person he wants to have it – it’s his business. Our job is to respect in our lives those elements that resemble it in some slight way.

It is useful sometimes to take a look at what we have in our repertoire that was first and foremost a gift from other people. It is good for us to acknowledge this constantly; it is also good to focus on those things we want at all costs to do alone and those things that we genuinely need but won’t ask for only because we don’t want to ask for them.

Delbrêl’s thoughts here are exactly what the Gospel should be doing in our lives: making us a bit uncomfortable. A pebble in our shoe or a burr in our pants – what’s poking me? Why am I feeling this sense of unease? Well, in Delbrêl’s understanding, we should be feeling uncomfortable. Why? Because we are doing what humans usually do (that pesky original sin!): thinking we know God’s mind.

Who among us hasn’t thought, “I certainly deserve better than I’m getting here!” or “That guy? He’s ahead of me?? I run circles around him!” We put ourselves above others, but then in some twisted way, think we are then at the end of the line. It’s rather like bragging, “I am far more humble than anyone else!”

If we are truly honest with ourselves – a real examination of conscience – we know that much of what we have is a gift. Perhaps it was a loan from someone at a critical time in our lives. Maybe it’s that Mom and Dad paid our college tuition. Many of us have mentors or spiritual directors that point us in the right direction when we could have easily taken an errant path. And yet, we want to take the credit.

At other times, we may find ourselves in need, but we are too proud to ask for help. It may be that we are buried at work, but we don’t want our boss to think that we are not up to the task. Maybe as a parent, we feel overwhelmed with the chores of everyday life, and we need a break, but we have a “supermom” complex. As Delbrêl says, we “won’t ask for [such help] because we don’t want to.”

But even more than that, we have to come to understand that everything we have – material, spiritual, physical – is a gift from God. If we are severely lacking spiritually, it is only because we have turned away from God. God gives us exactly what we need, if we are smart enough to accept it. Delbrêl again:

The Gospel words are meant to reach into the very roots of our corruption, the depths of which we cannot fathom insofar as we do not know the great heights at which our holiness lies.  We should thus not be surprised at the sad interminable journeys, the deep upheavals that each of these words initiates within us.  We shouldn’t try to hold back this sort of free-fall of the word into our depths.  We need the passive courage that allows it to act within us – “Let it be done to me according to your Word.”

And when once a single one of these words has stolen into us, we need to know how to desire communion with all the others, even if this little book seems vast, and our life tiny, narrow, and incapable of bearing it. . .

Let the Word of God get under your skin a bit today. Let it irritate you a bit. In doing so, may God’s Word help us to see things a bit more as God sees them. Let us know what it truly means to be “first” and “last” in the Kingdom of God.


St. Damien of Molokai: Embracing The Leper

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. (Mt. 8:1-3)

Leprosy (now known as Hansen’s disease) was a feared illness in both the ancient and modern worlds. If often disfigures its victims and was thought to be highly contagious; those with leprosy were made to live apart from a town or village and often made to ring a bell and call out, “Unclean! Unclean!” so that others would stay away. They relied on begging.

(We know now that leprosy is not contagious via skin contact, and is relatively hard to contract. It is a bacterial infection and can be cured.)

Today is the feast of St. Damien of Molokai. He was a Belgian priest, born in 1840, who volunteered to care for the lepers on the island of Molokai. These men and women had literally been exiled to this island, as far away from polite society as possible. Many of these people were Catholic, and begged for the care of a priest, but no would volunteer … until Damien. It was assumed by all that he was essentially accepting a death sentence.

The leper colony on Molokai was established in 1866 and officially closed in 1969 (although some lepers and their descendants choose to live there.) While we tend to think of Molokai as a lush vacation paradise, the conditions of the colony were beyond harsh.

The area was void of all amenities. No buildings, shelters nor potable water were available. These first arrivals dwelled in rock enclosures, caves, and in the most rudimentary shacks, built of sticks and dried leaves…

Oral histories recall some of the horrors: the leprosy victims, arriving by ship, were sometimes told to jump overboard and swim for their lives. Occasionally a strong rope was run from the anchored ship to the shore, and they pulled themselves painfully through the high, salty waves, with legs and feet dangling below like bait on a fishing line.

The ship’s crew would then throw into the water whatever supplies had been sent, relying on currents to carry them ashore or the exiles swimming to retrieve them.

The men, women and children exiled to Molokai were torn from their families and thrust into this harsh environment. Clothing became scarce, as was food.

The island had become a wasteland in human terms, despite its natural beauty. The leprosy victims of Molokai faced hopeless conditions and extreme deprivation, sometimes lacking not only basic palliative care but even the means of survival.

Damien set about trying to normalize life for the people of Molokai. He became their advocate with the caretakers (who were often cruel), worked to build homes, a church, gardens for both food and beauty. As a farm boy, Damien knew how to work. He also ministered to people, celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, baptizing and marrying people. He also strongly believed that beauty and art was necessary for the souls of the people in Molokai; he established choirs and musical ensembles. Those that knew him remembered him as a tireless worker, often to the point of exhaustion.

Damien did eventually contract leprosy and died during Holy Week of 1889. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

St. Damien’s life is truly one of a saint: he reflected and exemplified the life of Jesus. He brought the Good News to a people who were without hope. He brought them faith, hope, love. He taught them that they were worthy of a life of dignity, just as any child of God is so worthy. St. Damien chose to leave his life behind and live the life that Christ chose for him. He chose to embrace Christ, and in doing so, embraced the leper.

[Photo: Public domain. Father Damien with the Kalawao Girls’ Choir, circa 1870]


The Challenge Of Refugees

Most of us cannot begin to imagine what it is like to have your entire neighborhood, village, town leveled by bombs. What is it like to try and go out in search of water and food for your family, while dodging the bullets of snipers? Even worse, what is it like to have your wife, your daughters, your nieces taken as hostages and used as sex slaves?

There are millions of people today who know this reality. Pope Francis, in January of this year, addressed the refugee crisis.

The tragic stories of millions of men and women daily confront the international community as a result of the outbreak of unacceptable humanitarian crises in different parts of the world. Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.

The pope says that people should never be forced from their homes, and the world community should do everything it can to stop forced migration. No one, the Holy Father says, should be forced to flee “poverty, violence and persecution.”

On the other hand, the world currently has millions of people who have been forced to leave their homes unwillingly. Last week, Pope Francis received the Charlemagne Award, an award given to those who promote European unification. He was quite critical of countries who were taking rather extreme measures to keep refugees from their countries:

I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime, but a summons to a greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being,” Francis said. “I dream of a Europe that promotes and protects the rights of everyone, without neglecting its duties toward all. I dream of a Europe of which it will not be said that its commitment to human rights was its last utopia.”

We, the heirs of their dream, are tempted to yield to our own selfish interests and to consider putting up fences here and there,” Francis continued. Today, more than ever, he added, “their vision inspires us to build bridges and tear down walls.

What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?” Francis questioned. “What has happened to you, Europe … the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters? What has happened to you … the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?

It helps to understand a huge problem such as this by looking at just one person, one family. Catholic singer/songwriter Audrey Assad wrote recently about her family’s experience as Syrian refugees. Her father was born in Damascus, raised by a single mother who had left her husband due to his alcoholism. As a boy, her father slept on a door that rested on cinder blocks. He and his two siblings regularly stood in line in soup kitchens. After a move to Beirut, Assad’s grandmother sought refugee status and a move to the U.S.

When the family of four landed at Newark airport, they found themselves awash in a sea of unintelligible English and foreign faces. They were met by a man who’d heard of their situation through the Christian Missionary Alliance church, and he graciously put them up at his house for a week. Over the course of those first seven days in the United States, my grandmother found a small furnished apartment, while my father and uncle found jobs operating sewing machines at a small handbag factory in Union City, New Jersey. When my father would get done with work, he’d sit at home watching Mork & Mindy or Gilligan’s Island to improve his English.

Within a year he’d tired of the work in the handbag factory and felt he was being mistreated by his employers, so he quit. He went to visit the man who’d sponsored him as a child in Syria and asked him for help. That man offered him an entry-level job at his State Farm Insurance agency, and my father agreed. He grew to like the business, and worked his way up through the ranks in the office to become their top salesperson within five years. After a decade, my father was State Farm Insurance’s top-selling agent in the nation. But despite all of his success, State Farm wouldn’t give my father his own agency because he didn’t have a college degree. So instead, my father rented an office in New York City and struck out on his own — and he operates that company to this day.

Assad says that her family’s history taught her a lesson about work: “dream, believe, do, repeat.” She says this lesson serves her well as she struggles to support her family with her music ministry. Doors closed in her face, obstacles unanticipated arose, money was tight … but she believes as her father taught her: dream, believe, do, repeat.

We’re a people of ideals because we’ve had to be, but I believe this contributed to whatever it is that makes America truly great. I can say this much: I am who I am and I do what I do because my family decided to come here, and in doing so they were invited to make their own way in this wide country. I’m here and I’m still in this creative, financially unpredictable and high-stress business of making music, because my father taught me how to dream, believe, do, repeat. He is my perfectly imperfect hero. I’m so very proud and thankful to be the daughter of Roy Assad, Syrian refugee and citizen of the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’  Thank you, America, for welcoming us. We’re so happy to be here.

How many of our ancestors arrived here in the U.S. as refugees? Perhaps yours fled a food-starved Ireland or a war-torn Poland. Maybe your family came here seeking religious freedom. We are a nation built on the broad shoulders and tired feet of refugees. We romanticize the stories of refugees (think Sound of Music), but the hard realities often frighten us. Yes, we must have order and law in regard to refugees, but as Pope Francis has said,

Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop, on a world-wide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order, as well as an increasing commitment to peace, the indispensable condition for all authentic progress.

As Christians, perhaps the best thing for us to remember is that Jesus Himself was a refugee: [T]he angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-14)