Posted by: fvbcdm | December 29, 2011

Feast of the Holy Innocents (28 Dec 2011)

On this day, three days after we celebrate the birth of Our Divine Lord, we celebrate the death of about twenty baby boys in the village of Bethlehem shortly after the birth of Christ.  We call them “the Holy Innocents” and we reflect upon the sad history of infanticide—the killing of small children—throughout history.

About fourteen centuries before Our Lord, the Pharaoh of Egypt became frightened by the very great growth of the Jewish population in Egypt and gave orders that when a Jewish woman gave birth, if the baby was a girl, she could live, but if a boy, he was to be killed.  Boys grow up to be warriors and can cause trouble.  Girls grow up to be wives and concubines and do not present a threat to the local population.  One baby boy was hidden by his family; he became Moses, and eventually led his people out of Egypt into the land promised to the Jews, the land of Israel.

We come forward in our history fourteen centuries and find Our Lord being born in Bethlehem, and the Magi arriving in Jerusalem and inquiring about the birth of the new “King of the Jews” whose star they had followed from their home “in the east.”  The current king, Herod, was much disturbed by this news.  He perceived in this newborn “King of the Jews” a threat to his own position, so solved his problem the way many murderers have done: he ordered the killing of all the baby boys in Bethlehem under the age of two years.  Historians figure that about twenty babies were snatched from their mothers’ arms or their cribs and run through with swords, or perhaps beheaded. Those were the “Holy Innocents” of today’s feast.  As our liturgy tells us today, they gave witness to Jesus “not by speaking, but by dying.”  A newborn baby cannot speak, but can certainly die.  

Now, we come forward again some two thousand more years to the world of the sexual revolution, of  Roe vs. Wade, of our Supreme Court whose collective hands are red with the blood of the aborted babies, of the growth of our population, many of whom are very interested in sexual pleasure but not at all interested in the value of human life.  So they engage in fornication or adultery, and if those sins result in pregnancy, that problem can be easily solved by abortion.  Killing babies is still easy, and now is totally legal.

So again this year, we pray on the feast of the Holy Innocents for a respect for human life in our country and the world, a respect for human family life, for human sexuality, and for what we call “the fear of the Lord” in not destroying the human lives which he has made.  A respect for the embryo, the fetus, the newborn baby, the growing child, the adolescent, the young adult, the older adult, and then those in the last years of their lives.  As Scripture tells us, we are all “fearfully, wonderfully made.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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