Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through 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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We used to have a delightful tradition in my community: the youngest novice made three wishes on Holy Innocents Day to be granted to the entire provincial house community. As I was the youngest novice in 1977, I packed those wishes with all sorts of goodies to make sure my Sisters had fun-filled evenings three times in the months to come!
Our Gospel is a stark contrast to such innocent celebration: little ones slaughtered because of another’s narcissism. Amid our celebration, we are challenged to consider the “innocents” today: marginalized and excluded people, those who live on our streets, unborn children whose lives are ended through abortion, immigrants at our borders, the innocent on death row and so many more with eyes, bellies and hearts filled with hunger for physical and spiritual nourishment.
Today allow your heart to be softened with compassion as you pray for our world.
—Susan Kusz, SND is a Sister of Notre Dame serving as Associate Director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, WI.
God of Wisdom, the Holy Innocents witnessed to Jesus by the shedding of their blood. Console the hearts of parents who must watch helplessly when their children are taken from them by death. Fill them with your strength, comfort and courage. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
—Notre Dame Prays, the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United StatesPlease share the Good Word with your friends!