Holy Innocents – 28 December 2023, Anno Domini


The Collect

Holy Innocents

O  ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THEN Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.  (Matthew 2:16-18)

The failure of the Wisemen to report Jesus’ location to Herod resulted in the Slaughter of the Innocents is an incident in the Nativity narrative of the Gospel of Matthew (2:16–18).  To ensure he had no competition to his local rule, Herod the Great, king of Judea, orders the execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Herod was well known for his violent temper including the murder of three of his own sons. The early 5th century account of Macrobius who “on hearing that the son of Herod, king of the Jews, had been slain when Herod ordered that all boys in Syria under the age of two be killed, [Augustus] said, ‘It’s better to be Herod’s pig than his son.’

Bethelhem at the time had a relatively small population of less than 1,000, which would mean Herod killed between six and twenty infants, a relatively small incident dwarfed by many of Herod’s other acts.

It would appear that the first martyrs to the Christian cause were innocent young children. It is very interesting this is the case because often Jesus during his teaching pointed out that to really follow Him we must be as young children and accept Him as He presents Himself.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  However many as may be required.

By |2024-01-04T15:31:08+00:00January 4th, 2024|Blog|Comments Off on Holy Innocents – 28 December 2023, Anno Domini

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