A Sermon on Holy Innocents

Maggie Helwig

“And he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem, who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16).

We do not know, of course, if this was a historical incident. That’s a debate that’s not going to be settled. But I can easily treat it as historical because, if it did not happen at that exact time and place, it has happened a thousand other times. A routine atrocity in an unimportant country, recorded by almost no one; and if I named for you now Kraras or Fence of Legs or the Markale marketplace, these words would have no meaning for most or all of you, these small massacres in distant lands, as unremembered by the world in general as a slaughter of children in a corner of the empire was by the empire’s own chroniclers.

It is a part of the normal operations of power. But even worse, in this case, it is the direct result of the coming into the world of the Incarnate Word. Continue reading

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