Holy Innocents Day: The first massacre in Christian history-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Sunday, December 29, 2013
EVANGELIST Matthew gives this account of what happened on Innocents Day: “After they had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’
So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: ‘I called my son out of Egypt.’ Herod was furious when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.”
I am quoting here the full text of Matthew and I would advise my readers to read it again, so that they may realize again how horrible the crime was committed by Herod.
Let us put again the story in context. Mary had just delivered her child Jesus, the Son of God and had laid her baby in a crib inside a stable of animals because there was no place for them in the inn in the town itself. The Son of the Almighty God had humbled himself to become man in this miserable condition. In the same time God showed his tremendous love for mankind and brought it back into a state of new life.
This is the mystery of that first Christmas. After that the Child Jesus has been born again and again among men in order to bring them the Joy and Happiness of that first Christmas event.
History repeats itself. Ever since, other Herods have appeared on the scene, other massacres have been committed throughout the ages until in our own time. There is Ampatuan Massacre a few years ago wherein numerous journalists and other innocent people were murdered by Herod Ampatuan. There is the Antongalon Massacre in 1985 where 48 innocent activists were murdered on orders of Herod Joma Sison.
There are numerous more massacres committed in our times, but I mention only these two and call them Herods by name in order to impress on my readers how the mystery of Christmas has occurred in our midst here in Mindanao. It shows again, as I have said in my previous column, that the message of Christmas is a message of peace that we have to bring about among ourselves through a strong faith in the love of God which we have to put into practice ourselves.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 29, 2013.