Friday, December 28, 2012

A Seamless Feast

Today is a difficult feast to celebrate - the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs.  Here, we honor those children who were murdered by King Herod because of his jealousy and fear of Jesus.  The gospel tells us that "He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under."
Herod, in his desire for power and comfort in his own plans, killed innocent children indiscriminately in order to somehow thwart God's plan in Jesus.

Today's feast brings to mind for me two realities that are both woven into the proverbial "seamless garment" of Catholic Social Teaching.  First, the terrible holocaust of the unborn who die, often, for the sake of "life as usual" for parents and others involved.  The "inconvenience" of a child is sacrificed for the preset plans of the already-born.  I imagine that there are many homilies and comments about this on this feast day.

However, the other aspect of this feast is also proclaimed in our gospel.  Due to that same jealousy of Herod, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph find themselves refugees - driven from their homes because the political power could not tolerate their presence there.  This same situation continues today in many parts of the world - even in the US - even in Palestine.

It would not be "catholic" (i.e., universal, global, integral) to dwell on only one of these mysteries from today's feast.  Innocents suffer due to worldly ambition - in the womb, and out.  Both of these groups have their advocates, but we can serve them both.

So today, as we honor those innocents who died so young because of their resemblance to Christ, we also recall those others who suffer, and in that suffering also resemble Christ.  Pray to end abortion and infanticide; pray to end violence; pray for peace and all people's right to a home.

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