Luc-Olivier Merson, Rest on the Flight to Egypt, 1880
“Now when [the wise men] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’” (Matthew 2:13-15)
With the threat of the impending massacre of the Holy Innocents, the feast day for whom we commemorated yesterday, the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, fled to Egypt. Matthew’s Gospel briefly refers to this event. Their journey to Egypt, and eventual return, recapitulated Israel’s historic sojourn to and escape from that land and the tyranny of Pharaoh.
Luc-Olivier Merson’s painting, above, depicts in a romantic 19th century way a moment on the family’s journey.
Here is a link to a prior blog posting with a more extended reflection upon Merson’s painting: https://towardbeauty.org/2020/01/13/light-in-the-darkness/