Friday, December 28, 2012

Feast of the Holy Innocents

The narrative of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents is unique to Matthew’s Gospel.  It is not unique to world history, past or contemporary.  It will not be unique in the future.  Determining the historicity of the event narrated in Matthew is problematic.  Various ancient accounts give wildly disparate, and sometimes outlandishly large, numbers to describe the extent of the slaughter.  The details, however, are less important than the underlying motivations of the killer.  The historical details are less important than the fact that the slaughter of children continues in the present. 

Herod was known to be unstable.  Apparently as he came toward the end of his life he became even crazier.  And more violent.  Upon perceiving a threat to his power in the message of a newborn king he ordered the extermination of all male children up to the age of two.

The atrocities continue.  Newtown, CT.  Columbine, CO. 

The slaughter of children is not a phenomenon unique to the U.S. despite hysterical breast beating in response to Newtown.  Anders Breivik murdered scores of children at a Norwegian summer camp in July 2011.  The Nazis did their best to exterminate Jewish children as well as children who were deemed mentally or physically defective.  China has had multiple events of late, details lacking. We grieve for those children.

We grieve for the Holy Innocents who are killed because they are inconveniently conceived.  We grieve for the Holy Innocents who are killed, with the same logic as the Nazis, because they are not going to be born perfect as determined by a variety of pre-natal tests.   The number of children aborted after pre-natal testing discovers trisomy 21, or Down’s Syndrome, ranges between 85 and 98 percent in the U.S. with similar number in Europe.  Will children discovered in utero to be carrying a gene for Alzheimer’s  or Huntington's disease be the next candidate for extermination?  These killings in the abortion clinic are more heinous than the slaughters in Columbine, Norway or Newtown because they are chosen by the parents or, if a father is not in evidence, by the mother. 

What motivates a crazy man to randomly kill children?  Herod was an insane megalomaniac.  Sufficient motivation right there.  What of the modern day killers of the innocent?  A delusion of power?  A psychotic desire for revenge?  The desire to be free of the responsibility for a child?   Adam Lanza may have been in the early stages of schizophrenia or other form of psychotic illness.  Anders Breivik has proven repeatedly in his statements that he is a complete whack job. 

But what about the mothers who eliminate their children in utero?  What about the physicians who chose to perform multiple abortions daily?  What of the nurses who assist?  And of course the femi-nazis who insist there is nothing wrong with this slaughter and there are no repercussions for the mothers who choose death for their children as a form of birth control?

A few years ago three young women who were medical students at Harvard tried to push a demand that all third year medical students nationally be compelled to learn how to perform abortions while doing their mandatory rotation on ob-gyn during junior year if they wished to receive their degrees.  The attempt failed quickly. 

We pray today for those Holy Innocents who never had a chance no matter what their age, no matter if the killing occurred in the womb our outside it. 

We pray that those who are complicit in the ongoing killings will undergo a change of heart. 

And we pray for those mothers, who like Rachel, will mourn and carry scars of their deed for the rest of their lives.
It is about 8:30 PM 28 December (it is 9:30 AM 29 December in Taipei).  Two years ago I had just arrived three hours earlier.  Thus the photos are from Taiwan, three from Sacred Heart Church and three from Sun Moon Lake, one of the most beautiful places on earth.

 The three photos from Sacred Heart depict the creche that is spread throughout most of the front of the church.

 The top of Ci-en Pagoda as the sun was going down on a January afternoon.  That is Ignatius leaning against the rope fence, over 100 feet above the ground.  
The mist at sunset.  There were some adjustments made to the color and tint. 
And my favorite kind of self-portraint, in an elevator mirror. 
+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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