The Cousins

We know that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and that John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus?
Although Jesus' father Joseph is rarely spoken of in the Bible, we can imagine that he played a significant role in the raising of Jesus as his earthly father. Reportedly he was visited by the Angel Gabriel and received guidance to marry Mary and raise Jesus as his own. Was Jesus his blood child. I don't know and does it matter? I think the important thing to think about is that he was a spiritual man and as a husband and father, he took his role seriously.

Joseph's and Mary's lives were dedicated I am sure to the raising of their son and I am sure the well-being of their other children. Spirituality in those days was tied to daily life and Judaism, after God, the focus was family. At one point they had to escape to another land to avoid persecution and death at the hands of a dictator.

Many families today must also flee to another land? Some of my students and their families are refugees? It is a difficult life for them. In some cases the families are split for many years between two countries. What effect does this have upon the families and their relationships? In my work, I have seen that in most cases the separation of families has lead to estrangement between the members and severe insecurity for the children.

When Mary and Joseph and Jesus went to Egypt were Elizabeth and John and Zachariah called to Egypt also? We may imagine that they were, since John would also would have been a young child in danger of being killed. In those days there were Jewish communities in Egypt. Were Mary, Joseph, and Jesus and their cousins welcomed by family?

We don't know, but we may imagine that family or at last friends were in Egypt, or at least a community where they were welcomed; perhaps not, but and contrary to the portrayals in art of a Joseph, Mary and Jesus fleeing to Egypt alone, we may imagine that Mary and Elizabeth and traveled to Egypt together with their families.

Are there lessons in the Bible stories about family beyond the story of Jesus as a Messiah? What is our relationship to our family and friends? How close are we? How do we care for them? Do we keep them in our consciousness and do we remember to pray for those closest to us? Does God ask us to take care of those most immediately in our lives first?

It would appear so, for so was the direction from God given to the parents of Jesus. If Mary and Joseph had not put their obligations to their family first where would we be today? And how many people today must escape to another land due to war and famine? One figure I heard recently said that today 50 million people are of refugee status.