By: Paul Murano -December, 2013
“Our world has always been at war with itself because it has been at war with God.” These are the words of renowned philosopher and author Peter Kreeft. In the same vein, spiritual theologian Thomas Merton once wrote: “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves. And we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”
This raises the important question: Can the Christmas message of Peace on Earth be attained without submitting to the Baby in the manger? Did the three magi kings from the east who came to do Him homage have the right idea?
If the past century has taught us anything it is that peace on earth can never take place by the initiative of man alone.
Collectively man has made himself an enemy of God by willing to “be like gods” (Gn 3:5) to make himself the highest authority. Human ideologies of “peace” such as nazism, communism, and secular humanism are all attempts at world peace without God, and have been responsible for untold millions of deaths in the past century by the war on Jews, capitalists, and the unborn respectively. Representing these three modern movements in the Christmas story was King Herod, the political arm of the Romans at the time. Herod attempted through lies and manipulation to kill the baby Jesus (Mt 2:8) and eradicate His influence from society, just as these movements have attempted to do.
The Herods of our day, however, are more subtle than to call publicly for the murder of every male child. The modus operandi is the same though, in the forms of killing reputations, making truthseeking a crime with “politically-correct” language and laws, and even killing the innocence of children so they may grow up adopting a subconscious psychological defense mechanism that rejects truth and goodness out of an attempt to avoid self-loathing.
The answer to these attempts is found in the two-fold Christmas message: first, despite all the regurgitated Herods that pop up in history, Truth & Goodness will never be squelched; and second, that despite having hardened hearts, each heart has another opportunity to submit to the Truth Incarnate in order to find peace. So, let each of us hold onto the Hope that is True. Every Christmas when we see those three kings bowing before the Baby in the manger we are reminded that peace is actually attainable:
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”…King Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. … “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out…They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” …When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under. (Mt 2:1-15)
As the secular humanist Herods of our day continue their march of death — death of innocence, of freedom, of the pre-born (with abortion) and the elderly (with euthanasia), of marriage, of the family, and of society – all in the name of “progress” — Christmas reminds us that such an attempt at peace without God is pure folly; and that the Child in the manger who escaped the clutches of Herod can and will bring peace to our hearts and to the world… as soon as we let Him.