Wed, Jan 4th

By: Maggie Leonard
Matthew 2.13-23
Reflection—v. 16, ‘he grew angry’
Anger is not a ‘bad’ emotion. Ever. Anger can be a gift. Which is not to say that we always
respond well to anger, because we don’t. Herod for instance, was faced with a lot of stress
when he got the news of the newborn Jewish king’s birth and the escape of the magi. I
imagine he was still holding on to the fear he felt at the news of the baby and the anger
he felt when he realized his plan hadn’t worked. After all, his own father was murdered
by Malichus, a Jewish official who hoped to bring a Jewish ruler back to Judea (Herod was
raised Jewish, but always seen as ethnically an Idumaean Arab). His own rule had been
precarious with the assassination of Julius Caesar and invasion of Jerusalem—and yet he
was able to retake Jerusalem three years later. He submitted to Rome, but fancied himself
a faithful and generous ruler to his fellow Jewish people. And then, an unforeseen challenge to the throne arises. Anger can indeed serve us, as can fear. When we allow anger to be felt in our bodies and acknowledged, but not reacted to, we can allow the emotion to move us in positive directions. Anger can help give us strength, energy, and motivation. If we deny it or allow it to drive us to reactivity, it can turn to rage. Similarly, fear can help us to become discerning, wise, and protective. However, unchecked it turns into paranoia and panic. May we allow God to use our anger and fear for good.
Son of Humanity, help us to feel the feels and channel them toward your
merciful work.