When all was fulfilled according to the Law concerning Jesus
in the Temple in Jerusalem, and the wise men were already on the road to their
home, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Arise,
and take the young Child and His Mother, and flee into Egypt, and lie thou
there until I bring thee word, for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy
Joseph immediately arose, saddled his donkey,
quickly gathered the necessary things, took the young Child and His Mother, and
the same night went into Egypt. According to tradition, James, son of Joseph, accompanied
them on this journey.
In the meantime, Herod impatiently awaited the
return of the wise men. When the wise men did not return from Bethlehem, he concluded that the wise men, not finding a newborn
king, were ashamed to return to Jerusalem. For the time being, Herod was tranquil.
But after forty days the news spread throughout Jerusalem that Mary had presented in the TempleHer newborn Son, and that the
aged Simeon had come to the Temple to meet
this Child and had prophesied that He was the Christ. Then, Herod realized that
the wise men had figured out his evil intent and had purposely avoided
returning to him. He was exceedingly angry.
Not knowing how to find the Christ Child, King Herod
gave the disastrous order to kill all the children that were in Bethlehem and its surroundings from two years old and under. He
hoped that among these children would be killed the Christ. Thus he calculated
according to the time when he had diligently questioned the wise men. The
soldiers sent by Herod killed 14,000 children. Everywhere were heard the howls
and screams of the mothers whose crying for their
children, innocent children, killed by the order of the brutal King would never
have been comforted. They were the first martyrs to spill their blood for
Soon after this, Herod was punished for his
cruelty. He came down with a terrible illness. His body rotted alive and was
eaten by worms, and he died in terrible torment.
After the death of Herod, an angel of the Lord
appeared to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Arise, and take the young Child and His
mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young Childís
life." Joseph did as he was told and took his family into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the
place of Herod, his father, and that he was just as much
cruel, Joseph was afraid to go there. Being warned of God in a dream,
Joseph turned aside into the parts of Galilee, into his native
city Nazareth. There Joseph dwelt with the child Jesus and His Mother.
The child Jesus grew and became strong in spirit
and filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. From the earliest
years of His childhood, Jesus Christ exhibited unusual intelligence and
remarkable sanctity in all His actions.