28 December. Holy innocents. Read, reflect, share, pray.  Lifegiving and lifedestroying.    Matthew’s gospel tells the story of the three foreign Wise Men bringing gifts. It also tells how King Herod, out of jealousy and fear about a possible new king of the Jews, ordered the murder of all baby boys in Bethlehem.  Joseph was warned in a dream to take Mary and baby Jesus and escape into exile. Fortunately all was well for them. There are many lessons to be learned here. We have been outraged daily at news reports of the injustice of killing innocent Palestinians in the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza, which started as a retaliation for a massacre in Israel. There is particular emphasis on the children involved. However, should we not feel greater outrage at the killing of so many unborn babies through abortion. All over the world there are over 70 million abortions every year and in South Africa over 100 000 per year.  At the same time should we not also feel concern for the situations that lead to such a drastic choices about life?   The task of families is to serve life in the widest sense.  Would that not also include drinking and driving and destroying our health through substance abuse?  How genuinely lifegiving are we being, starting at home? 

Scripture: 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 who were two years old or under.  Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, :a voice was heard in Ramah, Rachel weeping for children; she refused to be consoled because they were no more.”  Matt 2.   Pope Francis: in the name of peoples who have lost their security, peace and the possibility of living together, becoming victims of destruction, calamity and war;  in the name of justice and mercy, the foundations of prosperity and the cornerstone of faith; in the name of all persons of goodwill present in every part of the world; in the name of God we declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path, mutual cooperation as the code of conduct, reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.  From Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,  Abu Dhabi 2019.   Fratelli Tutti 285