With the last refrain of the angels’ song still hanging in the air, Herod is out to do the baby in whom he saw as threat. The Holy Family become refugees in Egypt, a tragedy oft repeated even in our days – people seeking refuge in foreign lands because of persecution and oppression in their native lands.
And the not finding the baby, Herod ordered all babies in his kingdom who were two years and younger massacred. And this story is still happening today – violence against innocent and defenseless children. About 40-50 million babies are aborted every year. That is more than all the fatalities in the many hot wars raging across the globe. Many more die from hunger, malnutrition and diseases which are all preventable. Many of children who survived infancy are sold into slavery or prostituted by their own parents. And children, not yet done with their toys and play, are often forced to be bread winners for their families or, even worse, to fight the adults’ war as boy soldiers.
This lament of Jeremiah reverberates throughout the centuries:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.
And yet, one only has to look deeply into the eyes of a child to realize and learn what it is to be human. To survive, an infant needs only its mother’s milk and live. Every child that is born knows what love is. The child learns how to hate much later. A child may cry because he is hungry; but a child is never angry. He learns about anger and revenge much, much later.
A child is blessed with faith and belief even while still in the womb. Without anyone telling him, the infant child knows there is someone greater that he is and who loves him unconditionally and desires only what is good for him. The doubts and the fears would come much later.
Indeed, every child that is born into this world is an affirmation of God’s continuing love and care for us.