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Mothers on both sides mourned their sons and daughters

Shortly after his birth in Bethlehem, Jesus was forced into exile with his parents because of Herod’s vendetta against him. It was no longer safe for them in their own country. All artistic renditions of this event show them making the trek on a donkey with their meager possessions piled high on his back. They made their way to Egypt.

Images from the Israeli-Hamas War, showed dozens of pre-mature babies sleeping together in beds. There was no longer fuel for their incubators. The babies were wrapped in thermal blankets and put close together for warmth. They were like this for weeks. Eventually, they were allowed to be moved to the Egyptian border where they were met with ambulances and portable incubators. Some died before they reached safety.

After Jesus and his parents fled to Egypt, there was a slaughter in Bethlehem ordered by Herod of young boys under two years old. Innocent children caught in a power play by a despot.

The babies who made it into Egypt are receiving the best of care. Their brothers and sisters and cousins left behind in Gaza are dying by the hundreds in the bombings. The babies in the Kibbutz which was attacked October 7th were slaughtered mercilessly.

Mothers on both sides are mourning their lost children and children are bereft without  parents. The world rightfully is stirred by the death or kidnapping of a single child. Yet we continue to use war as a solution to human problems and land conflicts, and children continue to die.

In World War II, 1.5 million military personnel were killed, and 38 million civilians died in the war. In Vietnam, there were 4 million combatants and 2 million civilian deaths. In the post 9-11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 7 thousand Americans died and 500,000 civilians in both countries.

Mothers on both sides mourned their sons and daughters.

We are approaching the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. Of course, we pray for peace, but we must also, as followers of Jesus, make choices for peace in everyday life and stop supporting war in any country. We long for the coming of the One who will make all wars cease, as promised by the prophet Isaiah.

“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”     Isaiah 2:4

Article first published by the Rhode Island Catholic