Feast of the Holy Innocents | iPray with the Gospel
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt… Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.
We call martyrs those saints who chose to give their lives for Jesus Christ. These innocent children also gave their lives but they didn’t choose to. They were chosen for martyrdom. For centuries innocent lives have been taken and people can’t help asking ‘why?’ The suffering of innocent children is still a scandal for our human hearts. That happened during WWII in a concentration camp. The Nazi guards decided one day to hang a child in front of thousands of prisoners in formation. Elie Wiesel, who writes the story, explains that the child was so light that he hanged, struggling to gasp, for more than half an hour. ‘Where is God now?’ asked one of those prisoners forced to contemplate the suffering of the child. “Behind me,” writes Wiesel, “I heard the same man asking: ‘For God’s sake, where is God?’ And from within me, I heard a voice answer; ‘Where is He? This is where – hanging here from this gallows…’”
God’s agony didn’t finish on Calvary. When innocent children cry, God mixes His Tears with theirs; when they bleed, God’s Heart bleeds with them. If they ask you ‘where is God?’, tell them that God is on Calvary still, dying every day in the womb of some mothers; He is the Victim of famines, of epidemics, of wars, of abuses, of bullying, of mafias, of trafficking, of abandonment, of persecution, of terrorism, of injustice of any kind. God is still in agony in the suffering of innocents.
But we are with you, Mary, Mother of all Innocents, helping Jesus to bear His Cross, comforting Him with our prayer and reminding Him with our love that all that He suffers for us is worthwhile, and asking God for the end of all this injustice.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).