Herod gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old and younger (MT: 2:16).
When King Herod heard about the baby born to be the king of the Jews, he was very upset and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. He ordered an enquiry about the matter and come to the conclusion that the baby would be in the town of Bethlehem. Then he sent the visitors from the east to Bethlehem with the instruction that he be given the details about the child so that he would go and worship. The wise men realized his cunningness and did not want to be the brain behind the murder, so they took different route to get back home. When Herod realized that he had been tricked he was furious, and gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem who were two years of old.
It is surprising to note that the present century has committed more murder and witnessed worse calamities than any other centuries. Why? Why so many murders take place? Why natural calamities? It is because “King Herod was troubled when he heard about the king of the Jews” MT: 2:3
Today so many are persecuted, rejected, murdered, abused, raped and deprived of their rights and properties because “the Herod is upset and troubled”. All these are because ‘the Herod’ is insecure, incapable, unable and suffering from inferiority complex. Because of one man’s sense of insecurity, fear and lack of confidence the innocent ones were brutally massacred. Thus the harmony serenity and the rhythm of the nature and the universe are broken.
As a result natural calamities are sure to be as part of the nature. Today we are well acquainted with “the Herod” at every walks of life. Herod’s cruelty is found in two ways: Killing of physical Body as he did 2000 years ago and killing of personality.
The former is considered to be grave in the sights of public but the latter is also equally cruel because with it one goes to the extent of physical death. At times we are tempted to play the role of Herod and become insecure when the other comes up, when she/he does better than I, when my neighbor is praised, recognized and rewarded. Then ‘the Herod’ in us over-power with selfishness, jealousy and egoism. We use clever means to push him/ her down to the Hades and become most cunning in our attitude like King Herod who said, “Go and make careful search for the child and when you find him, let me know, so that I too go and worship him” MT:2:8
Today a large number of people face the problem of insecurity, inconvenience, financial problem, adjustment problem, problem related to job security, preference for boy child and lack of courage and readiness to accept reward/ punishment for one’s own acts. As a result one is tempted to be slipped down and be carried away by ‘Herod’ to be a murderer. We are forced to witness too many murder cases, among them most cruel are brutal killing of unborn babies inside the womb because ‘the Herod’ is insecure and upset to face financial problems and no readiness to accept and foster one more gift of life. Thus the sacred womb meant to be a life giving cell destined to be a cursed tomb and haunted cell and the brain behind inherit a curse and punishment for such wicked and cruel act.
At the time of Jesus King Herod killed the male children and the world today target girl children. The only difference is that some of the families willingly, silently and decently become part of Bethlehem and witness to the brutal killing by cutting embryo/fetus mercilessly into pieces inside the womb. It is more diabolical act than that of Herod because he allowed the infants to be born but today they are cut in to pieces before they enjoy the light and beauty of this world.
According to my observation especially in North India girl children are uncared compared to the boy children and are deprived of their rights and privileges in some families. At the age of schooling the boy children are given better educational opportunities compared to the girls. They are abused and misused even at their tender age. Today educated women are not spared from exploitation and injustice with regard to job opportunities and safety in the work place. Even wives/mothers as part and parcel of families are not spared from persecution on account of dowry, doubt and beauty. From womb to tomb women are not spared. At this juncture, we are called up on to bring back the lost dignity, life, glory and bright future of girl children, may it be our prayer at this Christmas time.
Normally women are scared to pass by the graveyard or the house where brutal murder took place. And it is interesting to note that the wombs which are made for a sacred purpose of fostering life are turned out to be a cell where brutal and merciless killing has taken place. How can women carry such ‘dark cell’ a haunted container within them? How can one give birth to a healthy baby boy in a cursed womb? How can a family be freed from the curse and punishment for shedding innocent blood?
Every sin has its wages presented as punishment or curse. It is time now to call up on God’s mercy and forgiveness for every brutal killing in thought, word and deed. It is time to realize that the atrocities on human beings, animal kingdom and plants have totally disrupted the rhythm of the nature. More than ever we find childless couples around us today. It may be that the nature ceased to be natural and rhythmic. There are people who visit clinic after clinics, and people who take up pilgrimage after pilgrimage and offer prayers at churches after churches to receive God’s blessings for an offspring in their family life. At one end they do anything to receive a gift of life and the other end they do anything to destroy a gift of life.
The church commemorate the day of King Herod’s brutal attack on infants every year on 28th December. On this day children are honored specially at the Eucharistic celebration and they are blessed by priests. At this special occasion every child is to be offered to the Lord and we are to pray for God’s blessing upon the children that they may be living witnesses for the Lord and be a blessing for the family and humanity. Believe it or not today sexual abuse begins among K.G class children.
So we need to be awake and alert to face the signs of the times. We need to show them the right way and teach them by our life example. Families are the fertile land where they are to learn the noble virtues and qualities to build a glories future.
– – – written by Sr. Mercy Pottokaran OSB