Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Holy Innocents

This is one of the saddest days in the Church calendar, especially coming as it does in between the feasts of Christmas and the celebration of Mary, Mother of God (also known as New Year's Day and the World Day of Peace).

The Gospel of Matthew tells us:

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 vacinity 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 3:16-18

I don't think that there is a mother in the world who doesn't cringe at the thought of her baby or toddler dying, especially in the cruel manner described above. As Mary and Joseph and the child Jesus fled to Egypt, these babies suffered at the hands of evil. All these years later, we take time in this joyous week to remember and weep with their mothers.

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