Today as I was going through the daily Mass readings, I failed to miss the top of the page that stated today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
The First Reading is so empowering with Christ as our light, overcoming all darkness. “…God is light and in him, there is no darkness at all. If we say ‘we have fellowship with him’ while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth” – 1 John 1:5-6. I felt God’s presence and hope from His security.
When I got to the Gospel, I did not expect what was coming. My heart was wrecked. The joy I just read and meditated on was concealed with mourning.
It was the story of Herod calling for every baby boy of two years and under, in and around Bethlehem, to be slaughtered. A king was terrified of an infant capturing his throne. Our Savior may have escaped but the lives of the innocent were taken.
These first martyrs were powerless. They didn’t even have a voice. The sanctity of their lives were seized in fear. All because one person wanted complete authority.
Before waking up today, I was very familiar with this story and I’m sure you are too. But reading it on this Monday morning was much different. It sunk in deep. My heart physically ached for all of the innocent whose lives have been and continue to be taken.
The kind of aching that makes you treasure nothing else besides the precious gift of life. Scrolling through my phone, turning on the TV, and looking at my surroundings all felt empty. None of this materialism matters. Life matters.
I obviously don’t have children so I can’t fully relate but I felt Rachel’s pain.
“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 3:18
Rachel was not present during Herod’s massacre. She was not from Bethlehem and died many years prior when delivering her second son, Benjamin.
But her descendants of several generations were lost. Rachel and her husband, Jacob, suffered with infertility. She thought she would always be barren but God delivered her two sons. Now, her gifts were killed and she ached as I do today. As many of us do for the innocents that can’t defend themselves.
Abortion. ISIS. Terrorism. Abuse. Other forms on murder. Suicide. It is all too familiar. These holy lives are so sacred! Yet evil is at work.
If God allowed them to be conceived, I am confident that they each had a divine purpose. The Creator had a specific mission for them.
Now, we are on mission to love them and their murderers. To fight for the ones who are no more and the ones to come. To change the hearts of the ones who stopped hearts from beating. To make every soul know their worth. That we are all made in His image; the image of a King.
Jeremiah 31:15-20 is titled “End of Rachel’s Mourning”.
“Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the Lord, they shall return from the enemy’s land. There is hope for your future says the Lord; your sons shall return to their own borders” – Jeremiah 31:15-17.
The innocent are still dying in the millions. Evil still exists. But our Lord has conquered the darkness.
He is the everlasting light and that light will never dim. So walk in it. For the Holy Innocents and for His glory.