Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rachel Weeps for her Children

December 28 2010

Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

By Beth DeCristofaro

My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-3)

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. … 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. (Matthew 2: 14, 15-18)


Lord Jesus, as Rachel, mothers and fathers weep for their children even to this day, console and fill them with strength for the tragedies they face. Lord Jesus, as daily your little ones are hurt, hungry, forgotten or exploited, grace them with your presence and the hope of deliverance. Lord Jesus, ignite in me the passion to care and act in order that children know love in their lives rather than violence or hate. Lord Jesus, bless those who work for the safety and education of children.


When as a child I heard this story in Matthew read, it would make me cry. I remember asking my parents again and again – “Why? Why would the king kill all those babies?” And I distinctly remember being glad that I was a girl. Today, as an adult, I know that being a girl in those days would not have kept me safe. In fact, this story seems to be reenacted over and over to this day around the world as children are abused, abandoned, trafficked, blown up by discarded landmines or caught in the lethal altercations of war.

Rachel continues to weep for her children.

Ironically, as you read this on December 28, my family and I will be in Cairo visiting our daughter. We also will be able to stopover at The Coptic Orphans Program. This Christian organization assists orphaned and poor children in Egypt, focusing on children who have no fathers, have special out reach to girls and also disabled children. We will be visiting families, in their own homes, and I know that I will see the workings of the Holy Spirit. These little ones will have more opportunities than they did if there is not the loving efforts of their families, the staff and volunteers of Coptic Orphans. Yet I know they will never have the breaks that my daughters had – and have – as white, middle class Americans. However, they are alive and fed, unlike many millions of children in around the world who are starved or broken almost before their short lives begin. I hope to have some happy, hopeful stories to share.

Jesus came as expiation for all our sins and is Advocate for us before God. But children still die needlessly.

Rachael continues to weep for her children.


In these days following the celebration of the Nativity, do some research and contribute your prayers and perhaps time, talent and money to the wellbeing of children.

The Coptic Orphans website is http://www.copticorphans.org/about-us/programs

The USCCB on human trafficking http://www.usccb.org/mrs/trafficking/index.shtml

Catholic Relief Services https://gifts.crs.org/battling-slave-labor-in-brazil/

Campaign for Human Development http://www.usccb.org/cchd/brakethecycle/pov_usa/