If St. Stephen’s martyrdom a couple of days ago was an unusual thing to celebrate, today’s readings about The Holy Innocents, those children Herod killed out of fear that his throne would be taken from him, are even more distressing. The story goes that Herod feared that Jesus was here to overturn Herod’s rule. In an attempt to thwart Jesus, Herod had all the male children under 2 years old killed. These Holy Innocents are tragic casualties of a world where people with power will do anything they can to hold on to it.
Unfortunately, we still live in a world where there is the case. The rich get richer, the powerful more power-hungry, and the poor and weak become more so. Jesus came into this very world to turn this around. Jesus’ power is made perfect in weakness, weakness to the point of dying on a cross. We are called to die to ourselves, to our desires, and to instead take on the role of servant to our fellow human beings through the example of our newly born Savior, Christ Jesus.
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the innocent children of Bethlehem by order of King Herod. Receive into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims. By your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.