“Abortion on demand has, in my judgment, contributed significantly to an environment in our country in which life has become very cheap.”—Robert Casey: (American politician from Pennsylvania. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 42nd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995)
Gospel Text: (MT 2:13-18)
When the magi had departed, behold, 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.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Our Gospel reading (MT 2: 13-18) guides us through the story of Joseph being warned by an angel about the impending danger for the baby Jesus. Joseph responds immediately to the angels’ warning by fleeing to Egypt and remaining there until the death of Herod and the danger had passed. Jesus escaped the vengeance of Herod but the Holy Innocents, all the young boys in Bethlehem did not. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, a time when Christians pause in adoration, these unsuspecting children, became the church’s first martyrs. And so it is that shortly after Christmas, we pause to remember innocent lives sacrificed to calm the fear of just one person.
Herod was certainly fearful of what would happen to him if a new ruler would rise to power. Nothing was going to keep him from protecting his position of power. We too are often caught in the grips of fear when we perceive something will enter our little protected world and bring change or worse yet, eliminate the need for our presence. It’s easy to fall into this trap and lash out at all those around us in a protective nature just as Herod lashed out at all those innocent children. We can too often be just like Herod and kill with our words or unkind behaviors. Sadly, it doesn’t matter the sweetness we discover in Christmas or the kindnesses others show us. We so very quickly throw aside those good things and react in a furious rage.
So today, as we remember all those who have been sacrificed, may we remember to not sacrifice others in order to protect our egos.