Today’s feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of the scourge of abortion and our call to protect innocent life. It is also a reminder of the many thousands of children caught every day in the violence of war and domestic disputes. It also reminds us of the children who are abused in so many ways and are sold in the human trafficking industry for sexual purposes.
The cruel fact is that we can become accustomed to reading or seeing on the news all the ways that children are harmed today. We live in a time when damage done to children is commonplace. We should make a conscious effort to be always aware of the plight of children who are victimized by violence, poverty, neglect, and abuse.
There are always bullies in this world, people who use their power to oppress the poor, the powerless, the defenseless. But God is always at work, often in mysterious ways, to protect and defend them.
No one is more defenseless than a child. When the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, Pharaoh decreed that all their male children were not to be allowed to live. And yet from their slaughter arose a great man, rescued by the providence of God. This man was Moses – the savior of his people.
King Herod decreed that all the boys, two years and younger, born in Bethlehem were to be murdered. And from that slaughter arose Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Charles Miller has this reflection on today’s gospel passage: “We are God’s people, just ordinary people who are not the powerful of this world.” “We are called to be simple and humble, relying on God to protect us and to give us justice against evil.” “God worked for the good of his people through Moses and now works for our good through Jesus Christ.” “But he wants us to be concerned about others as he is concerned about us, to allow Jesus to continue his good work within us.”
The poor, the downtrodden, the marginalized should be our favorites as they are God’s favorites. In particular, on this feast of the Holy Innocents, we ought to think of those unborn children, completely defenseless, who are victims of abortion. The Second Vatican Council has declared that “from the first moment of conception life must be guarded with the greatest care.”