Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Feast of the Holy Innocents

Picture source

The following is today's meditation from The Word Among Us. It is a very good meditation for us to remember the Holy Innocents who die daily in the world today.
Rachel weeping for her children. (Matthew 2:18)

What a hard life Rachel had! Both she and her sister, Leah, were married to Jacob, and while Leah gave Jacob many sons, Rachel just couldn’t get pregnant. One day, in her distress, Rachel cried out to Jacob: “Give me children or I shall die!” (Genesis 30:1). Jacob, too, was frustrated because he knew that only God could give life. But God answered Rachel’s prayer. She named her first child Joseph, which means, “May the Lord add another son” (30:24). God heard that prayer as well and gave her another child years later. However, it was a complicated labor, and Rachel ended up dying in childbirth. Before she passed, however, she named the baby Benoni, which means “Son of my sorrow.” But Jacob—who loved Rachel deeply—called him Benjamin, “Son of my right hand” (35:18).

For centuries, Rachel’s tomb was honored by the people of Israel. Her sad story touched them, and they held a special place for her in their hearts. In fact, when the prophet Jeremiah saw the Babylonian soldiers marching the children of Israel—descendants of Rachel—into exile, he said it was like he was feeling Rachel’s anguish all over again (Jeremiah 31:15).

In today’s Gospel, King Herod’s order to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem reminds Matthew of Jeremiah’s prophecy. In the death of these helpless, innocent children, Matthew sees Rachel weeping over her children once more. He sees mothers grieving their horrible loss.

Rachel continues to weep today, this time over the millions of children who are victims of abortions. Who could not be moved by this assault on innocent lives? But even as we mourn with Rachel, we must have hope. We must believe that God will have the final word and that it will be a word of triumph. We need to pray for an end to abortion. We need to work for an end to abortion. But we also need to remember God’s words to Jeremiah: “Wipe the tears from your eyes… . There is hope for your future… . Your sons will return” (Jeremiah 31:16,17). God will turn this horrible situation around. He is the Lord of Life and he will have the victory!

“Father, teach us how to build a culture of life on the earth. May every child be loved and welcomed into life!”

2 comments:

Tracy said...

Beautiful picture.

Esther G. said...

Tracy, I love old Catholic prints like this.