December 28, 2005

The Holy Innocents

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

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Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is December 28th, 2005: the Feast of The Holy Innocents.

Christmas, Stephen, John, and now The Holy Innocents. At last, the up and down nature of these post-Nativity observances has reached an end, but not before we are forced to deal with the fact that even in the midst of our rejoicing at Christ’s new life, there are still places in our world where children are struck down in their infancy because their lives represent some political, economic, or social threat to those in power, or simply because they are too weak to resist.

Sadly, one of the places where the lives of children are still in great danger every day is the Holy Land. Two thousand years after Herod considered them as little more than pawns in a power play (Matthew 2:13-18), children are still at risk in the political conflicts that plague the area.

There is a tradition that John (who would become The Baptist) escaped the slaughter of the innocents because Elizabeth and Zechariah hid with him in a cave above the town where they lived. Today those caves are venerated by Palestinian Christian women who go there to pray for the safety of their children in an increasingly violent world.

But political violence is not the only thing that threatens the lives of children. In Africa AIDS endangers millions of children, either directly because they themselves are infected, or indirectly by the very real possibility that they will be orphaned when the disease takes the lives of their parents. We here in America are not exempt, either. Studies have suggested that as many as one in three children are without health insurance for some part of the year.

Herod was right in one way. We cannot know what children will become when they grow up. This is all the more reason to protect their young lives and give God the opportunity to work out the plan for their lives. The Holy Innocents is a time to recall all those, adults and children alike, who die needlessly because the powers that be cannot be bothered to care about them. God asks that if they will not, that we pick up the slack.

Let us pray: 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 your, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us tomorrow at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Blessed Thomas Becket. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

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