On the feast of the Holy Innocents, I think of the faces of the children killed in Uvalde, Texas. Earlier this year, their photos were an unrelenting, “in your face” testament to the plague of gun violence in the U.S.

From my days as a Catholic elementary school student, I recall the face of the beautiful child with blonde curls on our Catholic calendar marking the feast day of the Holy Innocents on Dec. 28.

Ursuline Sister Mary Robert, my third-grade teacher, told us that Holy Innocents was a feast day to remind us that God especially loved children. Since A.D. 485, Holy Innocents has been marked as an official feast day in the Western church to celebrate the children who were the first martyrs, killed by King Herod — who was known for his paranoia and cruelty.

When I entered the Cleveland Ursuline novitiate in 1965, we looked forward to Holy Innocents as the feast day we were “allowed” to roller skate on the loading dock, which had smooth cement flooring!

As a John Carroll University graduate student, I became familiar with Raymond Brown’s book The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Brown discusses the complexity of determining the historicity of these infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke. He explains that the authors used the narratives to convey a religious, rather than historical message regarding Jesus’ identity and how the early life of Jesus echoed the history of Israel.

Source: Confront gun violence for the sake of our children, the Holy Innocents

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