Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Massacre of the Innocents.

Today's lesson comes from Matthew 2:16–18: The Massacre of the Innocents.
When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
It is part of the Narrative of the Birth of Christ, yet this incident is only mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew and later Christian authorities who use this gospel as a source.  It is repeated each year with the singing of the Coventry Carol, which came from that City's Mystery Play:
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his owne sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Some people have doubted this was an actual historical event since it is only mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew.  Some people see this as being a contrived feature of the Gospels to show that Jesus was the Messiah by fulfilling the prophecy of being called out of Egypt.

Today is the anniversary of a mass shooting where 20 small children were shot.  This incident was well reported and documented, yet there are some who would deny that it happened.

Unfortunately, this is only one incident where children fall victim to firearms violence.  It seems that children are shot both intentionally and accidentally on a daily basis in the States.

There are those who would twist an archaic passage in the US Constitution which deals with an obscure institution, the Militia, which some would like to say would cause this to be an unintentional consequence of a "right" to own weapons outside the context of that institution.  This is despite the Constitution's purposes of  "insuring domestic tranquility" and "promoting the general welfare" as well as saying that people should not "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law".

Instead, we see people acting like Herod and countenancing a new slaughter of the innocents.  For what purpose?

Unlike the unborn, these are not speculative lives: they are persons who were living, breathing, and playing.  They had parents who wanted to bring them into this world. They would have had futures had there not been the easy access to firearms which leads to these new massacres of the innocents on a daily basis. 

For those who would say they want to protect the unborn: why do they not wish to also protect the born?   As Sister Joan Chittister pointed out:
I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
I will add that you cannot call yourself pro-life if you tolerate the daily massacres of the living innocents on top of the"pro-birth" attitude mentioned by Sister Joan Chittister.

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