A Homily by Saint Jerome the Priest
Joseph took the young Child and his Mother, and fled into Egypt, during the night and in the dark. And the darkness of that night was a figure of the darkness of ignorance in which they fled the unbelievers form whom they fled. But no mention is made in the Gospel either of night or of the dark on their return into Judea, and thereby we are put in mind of that light which will lighten the Jews, when, at the end of the world, they shall receive back the Faith which now lighteneth the Gentiles, even as Judea received Christ returning from Egypt.
We read further : That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying : Out of Egypt have I called my Son, Let those who deny the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures, tell us where any such passage is to be found in the Septuagint. And since they will not find it there, I tell them that the fact of its being written in the Prophet Hosea can be proved by the texts which I have lately published.
Again, we read: Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the Prophet, saying, In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, weeping and great mourning ; Rachel weeping for her children. Rachel was the mother of Benjamin, and Bethlehem is not a town belonging to this tribe. We must therefore seek another reason why Rachel should weep for the children of Judah, to whom Bethlehem belongeth, as for her own. The plain answer is that she is buried at Ephratah close to Bethlehem; and because it was there that a resting-place was found for this mother, the place became known by her name; or it is possible that the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were joined together, and Herod slew not only all the children that were in Bethlehem, but also in the borders or coasts thereof.
Antiphon on the Benedictus:These are they … which were not defiled with women, * for they are virgins, and they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
Collect:O Almighty God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast
ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: mortify and kill all vices in us; and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.