Friday, December 28, 2012

Holy Innocents

"The massacre of the Holy Innocents" a fresco by Giotto

Today we honor and remember the unknown number of boys massacred by Herod at the time when Jesus was born. The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical narrative of infanticide and gendercide by Herod. According to the Gospel of Matthew Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the village of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi. In typical Matthean style it is understood as the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy: "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children." The number of infants killed is not stated, however the Holy Innocents have been claimed as the first Christian martyrs.
Today we remember also the millions of babies killed through abortion, who may be considered as the modern martyrs, the modern Holy Innocents. And this month in particular, we remember the 20 children killed in Newtown, Connecticut in Sandy Hook Elementary school, who were also martyred at the average age of 6 years, along with 6 teachers.

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