On the feast of Holy Innocents we remember all those children who have died. I tend to remember my own little miscarried ones and all mothers who have lost babies whether through miscarriage or the violence of abortion.
Todays feast remembers all the children slaughtered by Herod’s men, just following orders, in Bethlehem. I have heard some criticism of the story on the grounds that the only known recording of the event is in Matthew’s Gospel. The argument seems to be that if the event isn’t written about elsewhere, as far as we know, then Matthew was making it up. I have to say I would need a lot more evidence that Matthew lied, than the fact that 2000 years later surviving documents from the time don’t record it. Surely a more sensible view is that Matthew heard the story from those it most effected, Jesus Mother for example.
It seems a sad fact that many ancient powers and civilisations were busy killing children in some way. And none of them are left. There is a god who promises wealth and all sorts of comforts if only parents will give him their children; Molech, Saturn, Crom Cruach, the serpent god of the Aztecs and so the list of names goes on. Even the Romans were found to have turned to child sacrifice at times. It seems one of the few major civilisations not to sacrifice children was ancient Egypt, which although there was some human sacrifice, didn’t target children as such. How odd it is that we so admire their wonderful buildings and don’t wonder why they are all empty.
Today we have the massive abortion industry, making vast amounts of money out of killing off unborn children. It doesn’t get much of a mention in the news over here, although it does get a little more in America. While there are those who would prefer that Matthew hadn’t mentioned Herod’s murderous rage aimed at toddlers and babies-and I dare say some mothers died trying to protect their little ones; no one seems that bothered at the lives shattered through abortion. There is an odd silence over killing off children because they happen to have a disability.
I once heard an argument that abortion would reduce child abuse! How anyone could think that making children disposable objects would do anything other than increase abuse is beyond me.
We look with disgust at Molech and Saturn eating his children. On the whole we have forgotten the Irish Crom Cruach-too close to home perhaps; but one day we will look back at our own so called civilisation and wonder why. Why?
Robert Hugh Benson’s book Lord of the World talks of a future where there will be euthanasia, killing off the sick and elderly, he saw marriage as less important and families not truly caring for one another, and yet even he couldn’t envisage elderly relatives in “homes” or the slaughter of the unborn.
But it does end when God calls His Son out of Egypt-out of the place of slavery and He comes to bring Life and Light.