Monday, December 28, 2015

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Matthew 2:13-18

The narrative of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents is unique to Matthew’s Gospel.  It is not unique to world history.  Various ancient accounts give wildly disparate, and sometimes outlandishly large, numbers to describe the extent of the slaughter. It is also difficult to determine the historicity. 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. Toward the end of his life, he apparently became even crazier and more violent.  When he perceived 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, however, did not end in Ancient Jerusalem.  They continue in today's world.  They will recur in the future. Newtown, CT.  Columbine, CO.  Both are previews of others to come.  However, the slaughter of children is not a phenomenon unique to the U.S. 

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 over the years.  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 underlying logic as the Nazis, because they are not going to be born perfect: with straight teeth, thick hair, and high SAT scores.

We grieve for the 87 to 98 percent of children who are killed in the U.S. and Europe because they carry three copies of chromosome 21, trisomy 21 or Down's Syndrome.

We must ask if those children carrying a gene for Alzheimer’s disease will be the next candidates for extermination?  These killings in the abortion clinic are more heinous than the slaughters in Columbine, Norway or Newtown because they are non-random. They are chosen by the parents or, if a father is not in evidence, by the mother. 

What motivates a crazy man to slaughter 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 psychosis.  Anders Breivik has proven repeatedly 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?  What of the femi-Nazis who insist there is nothing wrong with this slaughter or that repeated abortion is free of repercussions for the mothers who choose death for their children as a form of birth control? 

A few years ago three Harvard medical students, all girls, tried to push a demand that all third year medical students in the U.S. be compelled to learn how to perform abortions while on their mandatory ob-gyn rotation.  The attempt failed. 

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 these ongoing killings will undergo a change of heart.  And we pray for those mothers, who like Rachel, will mourn and carry the scars of their deed for the rest of their lives.


A very busy day.  After Mass at Carmel Terrace where I gave the homily above I raced across the complex to St. Patrick to celebrate a funeral Mass.  The funeral was deeply moving.  The widower of the woman who died was mourning his spouse of 75 years.  He said through his tears that it went by in an instant.  I believe him.  

The temperatures dropped at least 20 degrees.  Feels much more like Christmas.  Finally broke out my black wool overcoat.  I don't care if it snows or not but it should be a lot colder than 60 at Christmas. 

I am happy to announce that I actually remembered to get the car inspected, a December duty, before the time expired.  Over the years, though not since entering the Society, I got two tickets for not having had the car inspected in a timely fashion.  

Two busy days coming up.  Nothing scheduled for New Year's Eve or Day.  My goal is to buy a pizza, put it on the porch off my room, and have cold pizza and beer while watching football games.  One of the great joys of life.  Cold pizza that is.  My mom used to lose her mind when she would see me eating cold pizza with a heavy layer of crushed red pepper with my coffee for breakfast.  

The photos attached are Christmas decorations, some at my nieces house and some here at Campion.  

My niece Kate has a good eye for decor.  She is something of a minimalist.  Her place never looks overdone.  I like these two mantle decorations. 

The Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Campion is decorated beautifully at the very last minute.  Because of the health care center we are not allowed live trees.  However, there is a relatively minimalist decor.  

The main altar in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit

Trees and candles.

Trees from the back of the sacristy. 

View through the glass in the chapel doors.  I like the distortion caused by the old glass.

Have a Blessed New Year. 

+Fr. Jack SJ, MD


  1. Recalling all the large live trees at St. Casmir's in Lyndwood, Hanover twp.. looked like they had 10,000 lights each to a 10 year old. Midnight mass.. the church went dark with the exception of those tree lights.. I wish I could see them again.

    1. St. Casimir's definitely did it up well. Never went to midnight Mass there because I was at St. Mary's. Would love to celebrate a Midnight Mass that actually began at midnight. And then go home for some kielbasa and horseradish before bed.