Day Four — Thursday 28 December 2017— The Holy Innocents

The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia


Jeremiah 31.15-20 | Psalm 124 | 1 John 1.5-2.2 | Matthew 2.13-18


Sadao Watanabe (Japan, 1913-1996). Flight into Egypt (1978).


But why was the Christ child sent into Egypt? The text makes this clear: he was to fulfil what had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." From that point onward we see that the hope of salvation would be proclaimed to the whole world. Babylon and Egypt represent the whole world. God signified that he intended to correct and amend both Babylon and Egypt. God wanted humanity to expect his bounteous gifts the world over. So he called from Babylon the wise men and sent to Egypt the holy family. We are warned from the beginning to look out for temptations and plots. And we see this even when he came in swaddling clothes. Thus you see even at his birth a tyrant raging, a flight ensuing and a departure beyond the border. F or it was because of no crime that his family was exiled into the land of Egypt.

Similarly, you yourself need not be troubled if you are suffering countless dangers. Do not expect to be celebrated or crowned promptly for your troubles. Instead you may keep in mind the long-suffering example of the mother of the Child, bearing all things nobly, knowing that such a fugitive life is consistent with the ordering of spiritual things.

You are sharing the kind of labour Mary herself shared. So did the magi. Both were willing to retire secretly in the humiliating role of fugitive.
—John Chrysostom, Gospel of Matthew: Homily 8.2.


We remember today, O God, Herod's slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem. Receive into the arms of your mercy all victims of violence, by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants, and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Vox in Rama, by George Kirbye (1570-1634), reconstructed by Ross Duffin. Quire Cleveland.

Vox in Rama audita est
ploratus et ululatus multus,
Rachel plorans filios suos,
noluit consolari, quia non sunt.
A voice is heard in Ramah
of weeping and [great] lamentation.
Rachel is weeping for her children,
and will not be comforted because they are no more.

May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.