by Ken Rolheiser
Holy Innocents, Beatitudes and Weeping for Justice

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matthew 2:13-19)

During this past Christmas season, as every year, we find ourselves appalled at the actions of Herod on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Babies, and in some cases family members who resisted, were slaughtered by the brutal soldiers.

The white-robed army of martyrs praise God. They witness not with words but with their blood. God prepared them for victory and shared His kingdom with them.

The slaughter of innocents continues today around the world. The leading cause of death world-wide in 2019 was abortion. Some 42 million victims! In comparison, some 8.2 million died of cancer, some 13 million of diseases. (statistics compiled by Worldometers).

55 million abortions have been performed in the United States since Roe vs Wade in 1973. One graphic scenario pictures it this way: a bell tolls for every one million American babies killed by abortion. The bell continues to sound. 

States begin to disappear repeatedly representing the population lost: Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

To visualize this, if your geography is as bad as mine, these states stretch from Washington in the West (excluding California) to Wisconsin in the East (as far as the Great Lakes), to Oklahoma and Arkansas in the South.

In “Our Hearts Weep for Justice” Father Brendan McGuire addresses abortion: “Our hearts ought to cry for that reality of suffering. Whether we are pro-choice or pro-life we ought to cry and weep for the millions of children who are killed before they even have a chance at life; even in the latest term of life that they can literally be killed.

“Our hearts ought to bleed and weep for that reality. And not sit by and pretend it is a political reality. That is a human travesty; a human indignity that happens now more than ever.”
McGuire goes on to discuss the endless other types of suffering: the homeless, the broken, the hurt, the abused, and the list goes on. We ought to shed a tear for these, he says. The Gospel says, “Blessed are those who weep” for the suffering that happens. And we ought to pray!

We ought to allow this weeping to soften our hearts. As Jeremiah says, "If we can remain close to the Lord and allow these things to change us, then we will be like a tree that sits beside a river; that it always bears fruit." 

In many cities and small towns I have visited, I have noticed a rock or monument to those who have died from abortion. That is when I say a little prayer. “Blessed are those who shed tears for those who are broken”. Compassion is God’s greatest gift to us. Tenderness of heart makes us most like Jesus.

The translation of “blessed” in some lists of beatitudes is “happy”, and the opposite of beatitude is “misery”. Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted. And blessed are they who work for justice, they shall be called the children of God.

(544 words)