Friday, December 28, 2012

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the kind of feast to which the proper response is: "ewwwww!" According to the story in Matthew's gospel, Herod ordered all the boys under two years old in Bethlehem to be slaughtered because he wanted to prevent the arrival of the Messiah. There are no accounts of this event in non-biblical literature of the time, and one would expect that such a traumatic event would appear somewhere; Flavius Josephus doesn't mention it, and he spent some time on the abuses of Herod.
Whether Herod had children massacred or not, there are still many innocents being slaughtered here in our own time. Children die of starvation all over the planet, and innocent children die in the war zones our our world, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Darfur. Innocent children die of abuse and neglect in developed nations and in developing nations. Innocent children die of neglect and abuse in the United States of America, too. Innocent children die every day on the streets of our cities. Innocent children were slaughtered in the shooting in Newtown just last week. The leaders of these nations are even more guilty than Herod, because we have actual proof of these atrocities taking place in our time.
So today, let us pray and remember the innocents massacred in this day and time around the world, and let's remember who is responsible for these modern-day atrocities.
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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