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Nine Lessons for Christmas


7.     The Massacre of the Innocents

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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.


When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,

he became furious.

He ordered the massacre of all the boys

in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under,

in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.

Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,

sobbing and loud lamentation;

Rachel weeping for her children,

and she would not be consoled,

since they were no more.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               MT 2:16-18


 Lesson 7


Herod’s massacre of boys emphasizes his fear of a potential rival in Jesus


The book of the prophet Jeremiah (31:15) portrays Rachel, wife of the patriarch Jacob, weeping for her children taken into exile at the time of the Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom (722–721 B.C.). Bethlehem was traditionally identified with Ephrath, the place near which Rachel was buried (see Genesis 35:19; 48:7), and the mourning of Rachel is here applied to her lost children of a later ageRamah: about six miles north of Jerusalem.  The lamentation of Rachel is so great as to be heard at a far distance.




Let the just rejoice, for their justifier is born.  Let the sick and infirm rejoice, for their savior is born.  Let the captives rejoice, for their Redeemer is born.  Let slaves rejoice, for their Master is born.  Let free men rejoice, for their Liberator is born.  Let All Christians rejoice, for Jesus Christ is born.