Show me that your goodness is as great as your power!
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The Holy Family’s flight into Egypt saves Jesus, but unfortunately it does not prevent Herod from carrying out his massacre. We are thus faced with two opposing personalities: on the one hand, Herod with his ferocity, and on the other hand, Joseph with his care and courage.
Herod wants to defend his power, his own skin, with ruthless cruelty, as attested to by the execution of one of his wives, some of his children and hundreds of opponents. He was a cruel man: to solve problems, he had just one answer: to kill. He is the symbol of many tyrants of yesteryear and of today. And for them, for these tyrants, people do not count; power is what counts, and if they need space for power, they do away with people. And this happens today too: We do not need to look at ancient history, it happens today. It is man who becomes “wolf” to other men. History is full of figures who, living at the mercy of their fears, try to conquer them by exercising power despotically and carrying out inhuman acts of violence.
But we must not think that we live according to Herod’s outlook only if we become tyrants, no! In fact, it is an attitude to which we can all fall prey, every time we try to dispel our fears with arrogance, even if only verbal, or made up of small abuses intended to mortify those close to us. We too have in our heart the possibility of becoming little Herods.
Joseph is the opposite of Herod: first of all, he is “a just man” (Mt 1:19), whereas Herod is a dictator. Furthermore, he proves he is courageous in following the Angel’s command. One can imagine the plight he had to face during the long and dangerous journey and the difficulties involved in staying in a foreign country, with another language: many difficulties.
His courage emerges also at the moment of his return, when, reassured by the Angel, he overcomes his understandable fears and settles with Mary and Jesus in Nazareth (cf. Mt 2:19-23).
Herod and Joseph are two opposing characters, reflecting the two ever-present faces of humanity. It is a common misconception to consider courage as the exclusive virtue of the hero. In reality, the daily life of every person — yours, mine, everyone’s — requires courage. One cannot live without courage, the courage to face each day’s difficulties.
In all times and cultures, we find courageous men and women who, in order to be consistent with their beliefs, overcame all kinds of difficulties, and endured injustice, condemnation and even death. Courage is synonymous with fortitude, which together with justice, prudence and temperance is part of the group of human virtues known as “cardinal virtues”.
~ Pope Francis, December 29, 2021
Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, whose power makes the impossible possible, come to my aid in these times of anguish and difficulty. Take under your protection the serious and troubling situations that I commend to you, that they may have a happy outcome.
My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power. Amen.
List your intentions.