“When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” (Mt 2: 16-18)
There is such a thing as senseless tragedy in the Gospel. And justifiably inconsolable grief. The mothers and fathers who weeped for their massacred babies did not have any “explanation” for what had happened, nor did they have the hope of the resurrection. All they knew was that their children “are no more.” Nobody was there to tell them that their children had died for the Saviour of the world. We know all that today, but they didn’t. What they faced was the senselessness of a human will run riot; of Herod’s insanity, which had the kind of power to order this brutal massacre.
The God-given freedom of the human will can have both horrible and wonderful consequences. And the whole picture only makes “sense” in the light of God’s omniscience, justice, mercy, and ultimately – in His resurrection.
I am reminded of all this today, as I contemplate the massacre in Bethlehem, and other massacres and tragedies of today. Christ comes into my world in Bethlehem to take it all on, even unto death; a violent death at the hands of human wills run riot. And please note that His own death made no "sense" to His followers at the time it happened. A sword pierced His Mother's soul when it happened. She didn't know yet about the "happy end." So, He subjects Himself to all that in order to redeem it, and make it right, in the grace He brings and shares with us, of His light-giving resurrection. “Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.”