The Holy Family


Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3
Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19
Luke 2:22-40


The Neged—We meet Abraham in crisis, bitterly complaining again about having no heir for his bequest. On a human level, he is without hope. Hebrews says he was “as good as dead”! God takes him outside: “Look at the stars! Through Isaac, this would be your progeny!”

Sarah giggles.

Bethlehem—A couple in crisis. Woman about to give birth in a frightened, occupied land. Of course, there was no room except in the stable. Three men from the East follow a star that leads to the child, then melt away to prevent the child’s extermination: “A sword shall pierce your heart.”

Cairo—Years ago, on a visit to Cairo, I stumbled across a Coptic shrine, the first place the terrified family had sought refuge. Its walls whispered of hope in a hopeless place.

Bethlehem—In the occupied West Bank at a Christian Church there is no stable, no shrine, just a pile of rocks from the bombing, on which the child will be laid. Outside, look at the stars through the haze of rockets. And take the child! Run again as refugees! Run across the border to Egypt!

And a sword pierces their heart.

Will the Jesus born on this heap of rocks bring us hope?

How will we know where to look, or what He will look like?

And when will a sword pierce our heart, so we can become hope?

David Peter Folkes is a former Passionist Priest who resigned and married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren living in Chicago. He is mostly involved with refugee resettlement and racial equity issues.