The Holy Innocents, Martyrs

1 John 1:5-2:2; Psalm 123(124):2-5,7-8; Matthew 2:13-18

The Gospel of St Matthew was written for a Jewish people, who would have been steeped in the books of what we call the Old Testament. They would have immediately recognised the parallel in todays reading between Jesus and Moses. Both were refugees fleeing into the wilderness of Egypt escaping a tyrannical king (Herod, and the Pharaoh). Both of course return once the danger is passed (‘Those who wanted to kill you/the child are dead’ (Exodus 4.19)). Moses went on to found the people of God, after 40 years of an exploration of the relationship between people and God in the desert he leads them into the promised land fulfilling the first covenant. Jesus founds the new people of God, after 30 years growing as a person of the old people of God (Jesus was a temple worshiping Jew and observed all their traditions, e.g. being presented to God and dedicated as a first born son in the Temple of Jerusalem). Jesus completes the new covenant through his death and resurrection.

Today Matthew calls these to mind through two quotes from the Jewish scripture.

I called my son out of Egypt 

is from the Prophet Hosea 11:1 and

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loudly lamenting:
it was Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted because they were no more.
is from Jeremiah.
Matthew is thereby presenting Jesus as a new Moses. The parallel returns later when Jesus gives the new law at the sermon on the mountain (Luke's Gospel written for the Gentile peoples has the same sermon given on the plain near Lake Galilee) and finally Jesus in Matthew's gospel sends out his people to the whole world from the mountain - the same mission we are given at the end of every Mass following the presider's blessing when a Deacon (if there is one) says 'go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life'.



Posted in Daily Reflection.