Today, the fourth day of Christmas, we remember the Holy Innocents. They are those who were killed for no fault of their own, just that they were two years old or younger. They were killed because Herod wanted to make sure no king would rise up to challenge him in his later years. Simply for power, that is why all those little boys in Bethlehem had to die.
Today, we remember all those young people who have died at the hands of senseless violence over power. We remember the young people who have died because they were caught in gang crossfire, or those whose lives were cut short by the violent act of a parent abusing their right to take care of God’s child.
We also remember the refugees, of whom we have heard much lately, because Jesus had to leave Bethlehem to go to Egypt with Joseph and Mary because of politics.
The Feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of three things: how senselessly we can vilify other humans to the point of thinking they deserve to die because of a list of adjectives we associate with their race, their politics, their difference. Jesus himself was vilified as the “other”, the “different”, the “threat”. Go to him when others vilify you because he knows.
Secondly, we recall how hard it is to live a life of faith. Jesus was running for his life as a child. We, too, who claim the mantle of “Christian” are called to embrace difficult challenges and answer them with love-something that is not easy to do. Even as a child, Jesus was living our life in all its precariousness. We can run to him with our frailties because he has lived the danger.
Lastly, we recall how God’s plan for the redemption of the world will not be thwarted. God is on our side. The Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, ah the Holy Spirit!, will raise up for us children of Abraham from stones that lie on the ground if he has to so that the world is redeemed. In the End, that is the mission, that the world, humans and all creation, be redeemed so that there will be no more senseless killing of babies, children, and people because a New Eden will be our eternal home.
Merry Christmas, Day 4.