The Day of the Holy Innocents

By Tom Quiner

The man was a monster even Isis could appreciate, but for the fact that he was a Jew.

King Herod the Great was the Roman client king of Judea at the time Christ was born. Jewish prophesy stated that a new king, a Messiah, would be born in Bethlehem, threatening the reign of Herod.

When Herod was told that the time had come, that his rival had been born, Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all boys under the age of two. This day, known as The Day of the Holy Innocents, is commemorated in the Catholic Church today.

It is recounted in Matthew 2:16-18:

Ruben''s painting of the "Massacre of the Innocents"

Ruben”s painting of the “Massacre of the Innocents”

16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”

The event was dramatically portrayed by the great Peter Ustinov as Herod in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 mini series, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Watch the clip above to get a sense of the horror of the Massacre of the Innocents.

The massacre continues today in the guise of human abortion.

The number of innocents slaughtered in our country today makes Herod’s atrocity seem like child’s play, except for one thing: the value of a human soul is beyond calculation.

The death of a single innocent is a tragedy.