top of page


The Massacre of the Holy Innocents

Léon Cogniet

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes.


A reading of the holy 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.


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.

Day 4 of Christmas emphasizes that suffering is a reality of life. Herod did the unimaginable; he ordered the slaughter of boys two years and younger who lived in Bethlehem and surrounding area. Mothers were lamenting, hiding their young ones from the inevitable.

We still do the unthinkable; the innocent are murdered and a civil ruler and the law do not protect them. In fact they fight for the right to kill the innocent in the womb.

There is no easy explanation for suffering, much less the laws that encourage death. The Holy Innocents gave up their lives for Jesus, the Son of Man, our Savior. Who do the sweet innocents in the twenty first century die for? "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him." (Romans 5:28) This includes the events in our lives that we cannot explain or comprehend.

We mourn the Holy Innocents. We remember the murdered children and the grief of their mothers. God protected His Son and it is His will that we protect and sanctify human life. We should do all we can to protect life at all ages, protect the innocents in the womb and pray for the leaders who support abortion.

In the movie, It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, George Bailey is given the opportunity to see how the lives of people were different without him in their lives. He had never known the effect he had in the lives of many. He always did what was right and sacrificed for the benefit of the poor and the less fortunate. The townspeople loved him and came to his rescue when the bank deposits were lost.

"No man is a failure who has friends", said Clarence the angel.

It is our obligation to fight for life and to do what is right. We must befriend the less fortunate, the unborn and the elderly.

“Never tire of firmly speaking out

in defense of life from its conception

and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend

the dignity of every human person

with courageous determination.

Christ is with you: be not afraid!”

– St. John Paul II

God Bless You


PAPA Foundation
bottom of page