Feast of the Holy Innocents
Today is the traditional Feast of the Holy Innocents, those children who according to the Gospel story were killed at the order of King Herod in order to protect his own power and domination. This slaughter continues in our own time. Powerful men earn billions manufacturing guns and protect their own economic interests while children suffer and die from disease, malnutrition, trafficking and wars all over the earth. Others in our country use the second amendment to protect “rights” without responsibilities. Meanwhile the nation continues to be traumatized by the slaughter of innocents through senseless violence. These are blessed innocents who were born with a beauty and potential that will never be realized because national priorities do not consider their needs a priority. We may read the gospel story with appropriate horror, but where is our horror and dismay at what is happening here daily? How complicit are we through our lack of civic awareness or indifference?
God, your compassion embraces murdered children and suffering families. Give them the strength and consolation they need and help us to find ways to free our country of the causes of ingrained violence.
Inform yourself on the history of gun violence in this country. Support an organizations such as
When Herod realized he had been deceived by the Magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem two years old and under. 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.
Matthew 2:13 – 16
We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.
By our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim… we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
We have cracked down on library books, cell phone calls, fertilizer purchases, and wearing shoes in the airport, but we have done almost nothing at the state level to make it harder for either a terrorist, garden variety armed robber, or young person to get their hands on a handgun.
The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind’s most basic duty to protect the innocent.
James T. Walsh