A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 2:13-18
When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. ” Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother during the night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was 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 learned 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."
REFLECTION: “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."
Jesus was born on Christmas Day to save man. He plunged right into humanity at its worst Poverty, homelessness, murder, mayhem, illness, greed, pride, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. His birth was an extremely humble one, laying in a manger amidst the smelly animals. He was persecuted a few days after his birth when jealous Herod ordered the massacre of the babies. Jesus had to flee with Mary and Joseph to Egypt. He was persecuted during His life. He continues to be persecuted 2000 years later through His Church, His priests and His aborted babies.
The baby martyrs, the Holy Innocents, are the first martyrs who shed their blood for Jesus Christ. We read about a mother's bitter tears for her children. Rachel , wife of Jacob (Israel) has been symbolically identified as the mother of the children of Israel. Though Rachel wept bitterly for her children, one day her tears would turn to joy .(Jeremiah 31:16) As mentioned in today's Antiphon "the innocents were slaughtered for Christ and they followed the Lamb and sing forever Glory to God".
During Advent our Mother Church taught us about Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace culminating with the birth of Jesus, --such joy . Yet, the very next day we are reminded that during our lifetime, when we stand with Jesus, to expect suffering, persecution and martyrdom. To wit, St Stephen and the Holy Innocents in the same week as Christmas.
It was through Christ's suffering and death on the cross that our salvation was won. God always pours out great comfort and peace to those who suffer with Him. This suffering can be in the form of illness, disease, handicap, physical pain, gossip, slander and poverty. And with this Divine consolation, we, in turn, can comfort each other. We can keep the suffering company, encourage and pray with them or simply listen or just sit in silence. God will wipe away our tears and sanctify our pain.
We pray for our Catholic Church, our priests and unborn babies. Recall the many times God has protected and cared for us, the number of times there had to be an angel leading the way in our journeys. Our PAPA members choose to care for one another and we choose to pray for one another. We show our caring by doing God's will and bringing more people to Him.