In the dark and terror of that perilous night, the valiant and strong Saint Joseph hurriedly mobilized the Child Jesus and Mary His Mother to flee their town and country and head towards Egypt. The reason? The wicked King Herod planned to annihilate the little baby boys two years and under. And Jesus was one of those children!
What happened was the Flight into Egypt. With great courage, determination, intelligence, care, and overflowing love Saint Joseph brought his family in safety, fleeing from the malicious intent of King Herod, into the country of Egypt. There the family would remain until the death of the wicked King.
IMPORTANCE OF THIS EPISODE FOR MODERN MAN. This episode in the life of Saint Joseph and the Holy Family is very telling for us today. Now more than ever the family is surrounded by the Modern King-Herod!!! Better said, the family is surrounded by countless Modern King-Herods!!! Therefore, it is incumbent upon parents, but most especially the fathers, to be the modern Saint Joseph of the family, to courageously defend the family against the attacks and the assaults that are violent, relentless, and insidious!
SAINT JOSEPH COME TO OUR AID. Therefore, we want to honor good Saint Joseph by imploring his powerful intercession, that he may pray for us and our families to defend and protect us. Furthermore, we want to lift up our gaze to holy Saint Joseph and contemplate him as the true model for men, for fathers, for spouses, as a true model of a noble Christian follower of the Lord and His Church.
IDENTIFYING THE MODERN KING HERODS TODAY.
So as to defend our families against the modern King Herods, we must first identify their names, who they are, and what is their malicious intent. Being oblivious and ignorant of the King-Herods today could prove to be fatal, if not catastrophic. Therefore, let us name them, claim them, tame them, and try to decapitate them!
1. SENTIMENTALISM. Meaning? It is a philosophy that is based simply on our feelings. In other words, if it feels good then it is good for us, and we should follow the feeling and carry it out! Wrong! Why? Because of Original Sin we all have disordered desires for what is sinful, what is sinful pleasure. Jesus said: Anyone who wishes to follow me must renounce himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
2. ATHEISM. Over the past quarter of a century there has been an explosion of dogmatic atheism, as well as practical atheism, spreading far and wide. What then is atheism? It is a philosophical system that categorically denies the existence of God. In High Schools, Colleges, Universities, and other intellectual centers, there has been a pervasive and insidious teaching that God is dead!!! Wrong! Listen to the words of the Psalmist: The fool says in his heart there is no God. Saint Paul quotes the Greek poet in these words about God’s ubiquitous nature: In Him we live and move and have our being.
3. REINCARNATIONISM/NEW AGE!!! Never have we lived in a world with so much information, but also never have we lived in a world with so much confusion. One notorious malignant and insidious presence in even Catholic writings and periodicals is the possibility of reincarnation. Meaning? The human person lives, dies, and then returns as another existent being! In other words, we have many chances! Wrong! We believe firmly and unequivocally in the Paschal Mystery: Jesus came, lived, suffered, died, and rose from the dead. Likewise, we are born, live, and one day die. Then right after death we will be judged by Jesus Christ, who will come to judge the living and the dead.
4. MATERIALISM. One of the highlights of the modern American lifestyle is that of materialism. What is this? Quick and to the point: material things, money, and having, are what are really of primary importance. Wrong! Jesus stated clearly: What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul??? This Biblical verse was instrumental in the conversion of the great Saint Francis Xavier. Erich Fromm expressed it succinctly: If you are what you have, and you lose what you have, then who are you??? The Beatles sang: Money can’t buy me love! So true, if you believe in the Gospel values!
5. CONSUMERISM. What necessarily flows from and follows materialism is that of consumerism. What is this? Very simply: if you have material wealth—that is to say, a lot of money—then you want to buy and consume! The net result is that your possessions possess you! Never forget the saying: The richest man in the world and the poorest end up in the same place: six feet beneath the ground! Also, remember that you never see a U-Haul van being towed behind a hearse, do you?
6. HEDONISM. What follows both materialism and consumerism is that of Hedonism. What is hedonism? Put simply: the philosophy of pleasure. Modern slogans: Get the gusto out of life! It’s Miller time! Go for it! Enjoy life! You’ve got one life to live! Live it up! Wrong!!! Rather, Contemplate the Cross—Good Friday. But never forget: Good Friday leads to Easter Sunday.
7. RATIONALISM. This means in concrete that we should believe only in what we can see with our eyes, hear with our ears, taste with our senses, and measure quantitatively. If not, we should give no credence to it! Wrong! We have faith, and faith is believing what we do not see. Jesus remonstrated with Thomas, the Doubter, with these words: Blessed are those who believe without seeing. Thomas responded: My Lord and my God!!!
8. UTILITARIANISM. Expressed and developed by J. S Mill and J. Bentham, it is a very prevalent philosophy in the United States. Its meaning? As a person you have value only inasmuch as you produce economically. In other words, the more money you make and the more money you have, the more important you are and the more value you have as a person! Wrong? Jesus showed a very special love for the poor, the marginalized, the rejected, and the outcasts; for that matter, so did the saints, i.e. Mother Teresa, John Bosco, Vincent de Paul, and many others!!!
9. MORAL RELATIVISM. A very pernicious as well as pervasive philosophy present—sad to say—even within the confines of the Church. Its meaning? Moral relativism simply means that the Church teaches one thing, and the individual rejects the teaching of the Church and embraces an opposite position. One of the most clear examples of the pervasive and pernicious Modern-Herod of moral relativism is the response of Catholics to the Papal Encyclical of Blessed Pope Paul VI (soon to be canonized!) Humanae Vitae—On Human Life. This Papal Encyclical condemns the use of contraceptives. Despite this inspired authoritative teaching from the Supreme Pontiff of the Church, the huge majority of self-styled Catholics bluntly and blatantly reject its teaching, and decide to follow their own unruly passions to the possible detriment of their eternal salvation.
10. INDIFFERENTISM. This modern King-Herod is not to be confused with the attitude of indifference—meaning an apathetic, blasé, mediocre, nonchalant approach to God and religion. Rather, Indifferentism postulates that all religions are basically the same because there is the same God for all created persons—a totally absurd and erroneous assertion. A Catholic is not a Protestant, nor a Buddhist, nor a Jehovah’s Witness. These religions are diametrically opposed. Indifferentism strives to blur the differences between all religions. Consequently, it really does not matter what Religious affiliation you choose. How danger and noxious is this Modern King Herod!!!
In conclusion, we lift our gaze to Glorious Saint Joseph and pray that through his most powerful intercession he will help us to become more and more cognizant of the Modern King Herods in the world, in the society, and possibly insidiously present even in our families. Let us beg Saint Joseph to protect us, to defend us, and to keep us close to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in this life, so that we will rejoice in God’s presence forever in heaven!