Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holy Family and Holy Innocents

To-day is both, the Feast of the Holy Family and the day of the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. Jesus, Mary and Joseph first in Bethlehem, and then the flight to Egypt, and then Nazareth; but before a normal, happy settled family life, they had to escape Herod; the male infants and toddlers did not. It is well, for us, to remember all those whom have died, and continue to die, as the military propagandists would christen as ‘collateral damage’, those casually destroyed, either as unintended objects, whom are impediments or anonymous bystanders, or just unimportant trivialities to some greater end.

Currently both, National Geographic and Biblical Archaeology Review, had stories on Herod.* His tomb was found in the spring of 2007. Herod the ruler, builder, tyrant and child killer. He will be always be remembered for his extra-ordinary wickedness. In theatrical acting, it is in portraying extremes of character, that the temptation to an over abundance of exuberance may fall in play; this does not always make for a good performance. Shakespeare has Hamlet coach actors not to overdo a part to excess, it causes ridiculousness.
...I would have such
a fellow whipped for o’erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods
Herod. Pray you, avoid it.
Now, Shakespeare was a recusant, some of his relatives were more public. He was born at a time, when the old religion was in eclipse, but not without hope and prospects of full return. All the old customs were not, yet, extinguished in the whole of England. As a child, he still was able to see some of the mediƦval, mystery plays performed in cathedral and market towns. He would have seen an overzealous Herod perform.

Herod, the king of the jews, was very jealous of his position, and very unconcerned with the lives of others. He killed even some of his own children. It could be perilous for any judaen subject, at any time. Now contrast this with the sweet and peaceful condition of the Holy Family. In this world there is great variation from one extreme to another.
* In 2002, the University of Maryland’s Clinical Pathologic Conference diagnosed the cause of death of a famous, but anonymous to the participants, historical individual. The symptoms led to a call of “chronic kidney disease complicated by Fournier’s gangrene ”. Now, this extremely, gruesome and repulsive condition was caused by venereal disease. The blood thirsty Herod was also a lecher.

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