At the sight of the angel in his dream, I can imagine Joseph saying, “oh no, not you again. The last time you came around, my whole life was changed, causing me a lot of grief and angst. Now, what do you want?” The angel might have replied, “I understand how you feel and you have every right, but I am just the messenger, please don’t shoot. Believe me, a trip to Egypt right now is the best for you and your family.”

How many times have I felt like Joseph when things unexpected and unwelcome happen? How many times have I been angry and totally dispirited by such things? Can I turn to God and express myself honestly, even with anger? Can I ultimately pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass by me. But in the end, let your will be done.”

When I see and read about all the horrific things happening in the Middle East these days, isn’t Jesus’ prayer the least I can offer?

—David McNulty serves as Assistant for Operations at the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province.