Today we recount the story of Herod, a man who had no problem with killing others because he perceived them a threat to his throne. He put to death his own children for this reason, and we hear today from the Gospel of Luke he ordered the death of a whole town’s population of boys under the age of two:
The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more. (Matthew 2:13-18)
Yes, there was much lamenting that night in Bethlehem. The loss of the life of an innocent child is a heartbreak to the parents. Yet, as a society, are we failing to protect them? Particularly those in the womb? We allow a mother to end the life of her own child on demand, and the number of children who are no more is approaching 57 million in the United States since 1973; and 40 million in the world this year alone.
On this day we commemorate the Holy Innocents who lost their lives at the whim of one man who saw a threat to his reign in the fulfillment of foretold prophecy of the Messiah (Jesus Christ). In a way, we are still killing the innocent because they are a perceived threat to our freedom; seen as a burden; we feel we are not prepared to nurture them; … the list goes on.
So, what are we to do? Let us begin by praying for the end of abortion, and if you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #PraytoEndAbortion. Let us remind each other that life is to be celebrated in its very messiness; and that in doing so, we will find joy.
Here is a great video that shows the pretty real messiness of being young parents, and what it means to embrace the craziness new life can bring. Enjoy.
May the Holy Innocents assist us to bring about an end to abortion, and embrace a culture of life. Amen.