Monday, December 28, 2009

Holy Innocents

This year I am struck in two different directions by the feast of the Holy Innocents. Here in Chicago, on Christmas Eve, an elderly gentleman was shot to death while picking up food for a family party. The killer then held the man's body upright while he went through his pockets. In front of witnesses.
That old man, kissing his wife of 54 years goodbye as he ran an errand of love, is the new "holy innocent" in my book.
And the alleged killer? He's in custody, but so far, all we know about him is his name, home city, and former prison record. (He was still on probation the night of the murder.) We haven't heard anything about his background, family, education. Just his prison record. Right now, he's my new image of Herod's anonymous soldiers.
Those men had no idea, reporting in for work at the palace, that by day's end they would turn into monsters. Were they ever the same? Or was it just another crazy assignment from a king so infamously brutal that even Caesar Augustus said it was better to be Herod's pig than his son--because Herod had his sons killed as rivals, but would never eat pork.
What happened to those soldiers after that day in Bethlehem?

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