Where the death sentence was given – Holy Innocents

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A view over the Judean desert, from King Herod's fortress

When I was in the Holy Land, I remember standing on the site of King Herod’s castle near the desert.Holy Innocents - Rachel Weeping

It was sunset. The silence could cut you through. My eyes looked out over the Judean desert, and with awe I realized that King Herod’s eyes looked out over this very place. Then, from the tents of the shepherds on the desert floor, I heard a baby wail.

Today, the fourth day of Christmas, we remember the Holy Innocents – King Herod’s massacre of infants when he heard the Messiah had been born. Out of jealous desire to destroy a possible threat to his kingship, Herod ordered that all boys under age two in the Bethlehem area be murdered.

Can you imagine what I felt when I heard the baby’s cry from Herod’s fortress, that night?

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.’ (Matt. 2:17-18)

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