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At our house we’ve recently received a number of birth notifications and Christmas cards from families and friends that feature pictures of beautiful children. We have remarked that the newborns seem quite alert – even in their first weeks of life. There is a quality in their eyes that seems to hold a question or a knowing of something deeper than just “here I am.” We wonder how they will navigate the world that they have been born into, a much different place from when I arrived.

Today is the feast of The Holy Innocents, those children under 2 years of age who were massacred by Herod, an insecure despot, upon hearing of the birth of “the newborn king of the Jews.” I am saddened when I see images of mothers with their babies on their backs or entire families fleeing for their lives from countries – especially now in Central America – where violence is the order of the day. Has nothing changed since “the King of Peace” has come to us? Can we find new or more efficacious ways to welcome the stranger? What is the light we can shine on the atrocities happening at our borders and even in our own cities? Can we not hear the cries for justice?