Gospel Reading: Mt 2:13-18
When [the magi] had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. 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.”
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem. From the human point of view, the killing of the innocents on orders of Herod is a tragic event, the loss of young lives which should be mourned not only by their mothers but by all good people. But what is tragic and painful in the sight of men and women can be turned to glory in the sight of God. The children die as the first martyrs to Christ, the very first ones to die for him. Their martyrdom is a loss to their parents but a gift to them.
St. Augustine writes, “How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear of the palm of victory” (Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings).
Who are/what are the Herods of our modern times?
Who are the Rachels of today?
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2012,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.