[The Introit, the Prayer of the Church, and the Epistle, are the same as on the Sunday after Christmas.]
GOSPEL. (Matt. ii. 19 25.) AT that time: when Herod was dead, behold an Angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the life of the child. Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the Land of Israel. But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep, retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by the prophets: that
he shall be called a Nazarite.
INSTRUCTION. In this we see how wonderfully God deals with His own. He indeed permits them to be persecuted and oppressed, but never to be suppressed, and from time to time He gives them many consolations. Jesus was forced to flee into Egypt to escape the persecution of Herod, because God did not wish to save Him by an evident miracle, but in an ordinary manner. He lived in poverty in Egypt, but for no longer time than God willed, who having confounded His enemies, and taken them out of His way, called Him back, and He passed His youth in peace and quietness. The dispensations of God the Father in regard to His Son, and the care He had for Him, should be a consolation for the just; they must be happy if God deals with them as He did with His Son; they will certainly, like Christ, be made to suffer no more than God permits, and their sufferings will be ever accompanied by consolations. St. Joseph avoided the land of Judea, because he feared since Archelaus succeeded Herod in the government, he might also imitate him in his cruelty. A Nazarite means, a low person, a despised person. Jesus was so called, because He grew up at Nazareth, and spent the greater part of His life in that city, which was held in such contempt by the Jews that they could not believe, any thing good could come out of Nazareth. (John x. 46)
A coloring picture for "The Flight into Egypt" can be found here.