What if one of the families crossing the border happened to be named Joseph, Mary and Jesus? It has happened. It came to be for the same reason many families are coming to our borders now – to flee from violence. The story goes that King Herod heard that there were rumors that the Messiah had been born among the Hebrew people. Herod did not like any threats to his power, apparently, even from a baby. So he ordered Hebrew children under age 2 to be killed. It’s one of those horrible stories in the Bible, warning us of the human capacity to commit genocide.
Fearing for their son’s life, Joseph and Mary decided to flee Herod’s territory for a safer place. The story is called “The Flight into Egypt.” There are many great art paintings compassionately depicting the Holy Family running for their lives.
Because his family was able to find a safe place, Jesus was able to return to his home country at a better time. Maybe that’s why later, he said, how you treat other people is how you treat me.
“Whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me.”
Likewise, Mother Teresa warned us to be careful how we treat each other. Some are Jesus in his most clever disguise.