Wednesday, December 26, 2007

28 December: The Holy Innocents

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted,
because they are no more" (Mt 2:16-18, ESV).

The Holy Innocents the church calls these children -- in a true sense the first martyrs for our Lord. We remember them this day and honor their sacrifice.

The sacrifice of Holy Innocents is not merely a moment in history, but is an ongoing reality around the world: in refugee camps in Darfur (seen in the icon above), in the slums of Haiti, in the tenements and homeless shelters and under the overpasses in cities scattered throughout the United States -- in our very midst. It is not in our power to rewrite history: Herod had his way for a moment and Rachel's children are no more. But we can change the present and rewrite the future.

Compassion International:

Food For The Poor:

Partners In Health:

Collect of the Holy Innocents

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 tryants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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