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. (Mt 2:16-18)
Today’s feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of a very brutal time when one of the kings ordered the massacre of all children two years old and under in the hopes that one of the slaughtered children would be the recently-born Messiah.
Of course, Herod was not successful as the angel had warned Joseph in a dream and Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt so that Jesus would be safe.
As terrible as that time was, it has been repeated over and over again through the ages.
How many times have we heard about infanticide happening in different countries in the name of ethnic cleansing and other evils?
How many children are slaughtered in the brutal act of abortion?
How long will violence against God’s people continue?
It will continue as long as we harbor evil in our hearts: greed, envy, jealousy, malice, avarice, and a host of other vices.
Whenever we make ourselves out to be more important than anyone or anything else, the potential exists for violence to others.
We are in the octave of Christmas. Let us pray that the peace of Christmas become a reality in our hearts and in our world!
FAITH ACTION: Pray for victims of violence, especially those who are children.