Key Text

Matthew 2:13-18

The visit of the mystics from the east had tipped off King Herod about the birth of a potential rival. Before it was too late, a messenger from the Lord made contact with Joseph in a dream and said, “Get out of bed, pack up the family, and get out of town, because Herod is about to send out a death squad to hunt the child down. Seek asylum in Egypt and stay there until I say otherwise.”

...So Joseph hurriedly prepared the child and his mother for the journey. They made their getaway under the cover of night and hit the road for Egypt. They lived there until the death of Herod. It was just as the prophet Hosea had written:
"I, the Lord, have called my son out of Egypt."

...When Herod realised that the visiting mystics had pulled a swifty on him, he went right off his head. Based on what they had said, he calculated that the child could not yet be two years old, so he sent out his death squads with orders to kill every child in the district of Bethlehem under the age of two. It was just as the prophet Jeremiah had said:
"Hear the noise in the land of Ramah; grief-stricken cries and screams; Rachel weeping inconsolably, wailing for her children, for they have been wiped out."

cited from Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources


Image of the week

December 27, 2004

Slaughter of the Innocents
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)

Tempera on wood, 42,5 x 43,5 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

The scene of the Slaughter of the Innocents (which also portrays Herod in the act of ordering the slaughter) is fully explained in the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah, where one can read: A cry is heard in Rama, a groaning and bitter lamentation: Rachel is weeping for her sons (Jeremiah 31:15) The despair of the weeping mothers who form an animated group is dramatically conveyed; they are in contrast to the rhythmic, unhurried gestures of the two soldiers who continue the destruction unmoved. Original link


Present Context

For Reflection

On Boxing Day 2004 (December 26), a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean created a tsunami which caused an identified loss climbing towards 150,000 lives. Local residents of many Asian countries, many of them the poorest of the poor, through to those who were holidaying on exotic island getaways, were affected.

For in-depth reports, click here.

Innocent people, going about their daily business, washed away, their lives plucked from the ordinary moments. Millions of others, from almost every nation on the earth in shock and grief.

We pray:
Lord, out of the chaos, may hope and life be born anew.