Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe
Russian Orthodox Church. Moscow Patriarchate.
REFUGE IN EGYPT AND MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS
We have just celebrated the Nativity of Christ and we were amazed because of the incredible miracle: the Almighty God limited Himself and took weak human flesh, exposed to all dangers here on earth, just like our bodies.And today we read how King Herod, having heard that the wise men went back to their countries and did not tell him where Christ was, became angry and sent the soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all children younger than two years. And there arose in Bethlehem weeping and mourning, and great cry; because people cried for their children and could not be consoled.Often you can hear from active atheists this accusation against Christianity. They say: “If God came to earth to bring good things, then how He could allow so many children to die in Bethlehem because of Him? Why didn’t He protect them from Herod? “To answer this question, we have to remember that God created man with a free will. He gave him the possibility of making choices and to take decisions. Without this we would not be humans. If we would not have this freedom, then love on earth would not be possible, we would be not able to love. Thanks to this freedom we are able to learn to love and we are able to fulfil the Image of God in us, while living here on earth, and become like God, who is Love. And so Herod, guided by his passion for power, by his fear of losing his power, he chose to kill the children of Bethlehem in order to destroy a future competitor. It was Herod’s choice, his personal decision. To blame God for the death of these children is a slander against God, for it was not God’s choice killing these children.On the other hand: interfering in Herod’s personal choice would mean to take away his freedom. God does not do this, since He gave each person the freedom of choice to be saved and to fulfil the image of God in him. Christ Himself through His Resurrection from the dead, showed us that every person, who fulfils the Image of God, will be resurrected into eternal life and also those children, who were killed through Herod in Bethlehem. Amen.