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FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS, MARTYRS


Gospel Mt 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 by 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 deceived by the magi, he became 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 ascertained 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

Who were the Holy Innocents?


They were the male Jewish children, 2 years and under, slaughtered under Herod’s orders. Herod became enraged because the Wisemen did not return to tell him where to find the “newborn king.” So he sent his soldiers to kill the babies who were born within the time frame of the appearance of a star that marked the birth of the infant king.


According to some of the estimated number of children killed ranges from

14,000 (according to the Greek Liturgy) to 144,000 (according to Apocalypse 14:3). Still, historians believe that considering the size of Bethlehem the number of male children 2 years and under was more likely 25. (https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07419a.htm, 1910)


Hearing the cries and anguish of the mothers of Bethlehem as they mourn the death of their baby sons was a sound that could not be hushed.


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.


What is Infanticide?

Generally, infanticide refers to the killing of a young child under the age of 12 months, with the term neonaticide being reserved for murders where the victims are under 1 month of age. (Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 2005)

GGenerally, infanticide refers to the killing of a young child under the age of 12 mont

Today we are fighting this evil of Infanticide and neonaticide. This is not new. It was a form of birth control for many countries in the prehistoric and ancient world and now it seems to be creeping back into modern society. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide)


The Holy Innocents are considered martyrs not because they chose to be, but they were killed in place of Christ. “The Church venerates these children as martyrs (flores martyrum); they are the first buds of the Church killed by the frost of persecution; they died not only for Christ, but in his stead (St. Augustine, “Sermo 10us de sanctis).


Let us cry out and loudly lament infanticide, neonaticide, and abortion for these are our children who are being sacrificed for convenience or for lack of trust in God's Providence. Let us pray to the Holy Innocents to petition God to change the hearts of humankind to end the killing of our children.


Please, join us in praying our PAPA prayer for the Unborn.

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