The Innocents

28 Dec

“Innocents should never be forced to pay for the acts of others.”  ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon

If you thought Tuesday was bad – the martyrdom of St. Stephen – you will find today to be totally horrific. We know that the birth of Jesus changed everything. The promised Messiah had, indeed, come into the world. That coming was perceived by many as the fulfillment of a promise. Yet for some, it was seen as a great threat.

King Herod was visited by Magi. They stopped for assistance in finding the newborn King of the Jews. Herod quaked in his proverbial boots. A newborn king was nothing less than a threat to his reign and was something to be dealt with severely. In Herod’s time, you didn’t ask potential royalty to renounce their rule. You got rid of them. You murdered them.

Herod sent the Magi on their way with a request to return to him and tell him, exactly, where the newborn king was so that he, too, could “welcome” him. There was to be no welcome. There would only be death.

The Magi were warned by an angel not to return to Herod. Herod, realizing that his plans to find and kill the newborn king were foiled, turned from a simple murder to all-out carnage. He ordered all the boys in the territory two years old and under to be put to death, hoping that the new king would be a part of that dragnet.

Unbeknownst to Herod, an angel had warned Joseph of the plans and instructed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt in order to be safe. He would be told when he could return. Today is the feast of those innocent martyrs. Without even knowing Jesus, they died because of Him. May the slaughter of innocents never again be considered something appropriate and necessary to accomplish.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for all victims of violence, especially those who are totally innocent and undeserving of torment.