Saturday, December 27, 2008

For To Preserve This Day

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents for much of Christendom. It is a time to remember the baby boys in Bethlehem under the age of two who were killed by order of King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the new King, Jesus. (Matthew 2:1-18) These were not the first to be killed by this jealous tyrant. Herod was a man so consumed by jealousy and fear that he had several wives and sons killed. Augustus Caesar upon hearing of one of the prince's demise said, "It is better to be Herod's hog than his son.". If only King Herod had read the prophets, he might have known that this new King would be his salvation - if only.

It is difficult to think of today as a feast day, indeed we've already celebrated the first martyr after Christ's ascension, Stephen. How seemingly incongruous that within this season of the Holy Birth, we must look to those who have suffered for our Lord. Of course this is exactly what he has taught us, that perfect love is sacrifice, a pouring out of oneself. Christ is not called a Man of Sorrows for no reason. He has not told us to take up our cross for no reason. I think to remember these witnesses who have gone before us is so important, both as a reminder that evil is real so that we are not surprised when faced with it, but more importantly, so that we may learn how to face that evil with faith and love.

Let us also remember the innocents today who are martyred or maimed for Christ's sake, such as Namrata Nayak, a ten year old girl from Orissa where violence against Christians is great. Namrata was burned over 40% of her body which was also imbedded with shrapnel by a homemade bomb.

She says:

"[W]e forgive the Hindu radicals who attacked us, who burned our homes," she told Asia News. "They were out of their minds, they do not know the love of Jesus. For this reason, I now want to study so that when I am older I can tell everyone how much Jesus loves us. This is my future."

Probably the best answer I have heard as to why men and women do evil. They do not know the love of Jesus.

A carol to commemorate the day.

Coventry Carol

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling
For whom we do sing
By by, lully lullay?

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
By by, lully lullay

Herod, the king
In his raging
Charg├Ęd he hath this day
His men of might
In his own sight,
All young children to slay

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
By by, lully lullay

That woe is me
Poor child for thee!
And every morn and day,
For thy parting
Never say nor sing
By by, lully lullay!

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