O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Yesterday's appointed Gospel reading and the reading for the Feast of the Holy Innocents were nearly identical, having been drawn from the same passage in Saint Matthew, chapter 2. Within the passage, we see heavenly intervention with the Holy Family's escape into Egypt, and the murderous hand of Herod, in the slaughter of the little ones in the regions of greater Bethlehem. Nestled within the passage is the visceral, heart rending words of the Prophet Jeremiah:
"A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."
Reading these words, one can hear ache in her voice, and almost taste the salt in her tears. Many skeptics have discounted this account due to the lack of a secular/parallel account. This is a strawman that's easily knocked down. Herod was a particularly unsavory despot of whom history recalls "It was better to be Herod's dogs than his sons." His treachery would have made the Ceasars blush. So, his execution of perhaps one hundred or so peasant babies would have been business as usual for this demonized tyrant. I think though, that in our spiritual myopia, we miss the 1080P, hi-def picture while we focus on the despot.
The Nabataean King Herod was little more than a useful idiot on many levels. Politically, he was installed, and governed at the pleasure of Rome. His actual power extended only as far as his roman leash would allow. Spiritually, he was a demonized pawn held tight in the iron grip of dark spiritual forces. Watermark evidence of this could be seen in his almost pathological assault of the image of God as seen in humanity or, the Imago Dei.
Satan's (and by extension, his minion's) abject contempt for the Almighty, has been regularly played out in violence done against the physical representations of the Holy... humanity. From the moment Cain raised his hand against Abel, to the moment one gangbanger callously takes the life of a rival, the demonic assault against the Imago Dei continues.
Saints & Pilgrims, we need to get absolutely settled on this fact; every life that is illegitimately snuffed out is an assault against the personage of the Almighty! This is why we're called to be about life, its celebration and its defense.
Its 2010 gang. In four short days, tens of thousands of Babies have been disemboweled and dismembered in their mother's womb. Islamists have spilled rivers of blood in hellish, benighted enclaves around the world, and amoral masses continue to slaughter one another over the slightest pretense. We have to ask, to what level will we as the Church be required to answer for all of this?
Again, its 2010. I pray that this is the year that the saints of God cease to be a collective group of me-monkeys, don the divinely-appropriated spiritual armor, and become the Church-Militant.