THE MASSACRE OF THE INFANTS

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

   “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by 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 were no more (ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν, яко не суть, because they were not).” (Mt 2: 16-18)

 

     The Mother of God was spared, at this moment anyway, of the weeping that went on in Bethlehem, over children that “were no more.” She was to weep over her Child three decades later, when she saw Him die on a Cross, upon which He breathed His last (Mk 15: 37) and apparently “was no more.”

 

     …But actually, He still “was.” And therein is the “light” in this dark picture, of inconsolable grief over the untimely death of children in Bethlehem. The weeping and lamentation of the Theotokos at the Cross is not “the end of the story,” – nor is the weeping of “Rachel” or the mothers in Bethlehem. Because we all still “are,” as are our deceased loved ones, even when we “die,” because He overcomes our death(s) in His death-trampling resurrection. Because our suffering and death, with which our Lord Jesus Christ and His “family” are met, when He enters into our world, are to be overcome by Him, after He Himself walks through them.

 

     But one does have to wait. We wait, as we “look to / expect / yearn for the resurrection of the dead (προσδοκῶ ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν / expecto resurrectionem mortuorum / чаю воскресения мертвых),“ as we profess, in faith, every time we say the Creed. So let me wait today, in the faith by which “women received their dead by resurrection” (Hebr 11: 35), if I am visited by inconsolable loss, in which I myself “die” (or at least a part of me does), as did the mothers in Bethlehem, and the Most-Holy Theotokos. Because my Lord brings me, again and again, New Life, as I continue to cling to Him. “I am the resurrection and the life,” Christ says to me today. “He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” (Jn 11: 25)

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