Meditation for the Day

Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs, December 28

With the Help of God’s Grace, May Each One of Us Be Counted Among the Holy Innocents and All the Righteous – Found Worthy of Eternal Life.

Just as the Church celebrated the martyrdom of Saint Stephen the day after Christmas, so too, today, do we celebrate the Feast of the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents.

The Gospel story today seems to diminish the joy of the birth of the Christ Child. Yet, as we well know, and as I have mentioned in previous meditations, birth and death go hand-in-hand in the story of the Nativity of our Savior.

Today’s account in the Gospel reminds us of that event long ago, some fifteen hundred years before the birth of Christ, when the Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered the slaughter of every male child born of Hebrew slaves, whom he feared were growing strong enough to become a threat to his rule. And Scripture tells us that Moses had escaped that terrible fate and survived to be the one who would lead God’s chosen people to freedom.

The great liberating event of the Exodus and the figure of Moses seem to set the foundation behind the graphic story of Herod’s massacre of those whom we have come to call the Holy Innocents.

Just as Moses had escaped Pharaoh’s cruelty, Saint Joseph was warned in a dream to take his family and flee to Egypt, so that the Divine Son would escape Herod’s cruelty. And just as Moses had come out of Egypt with God’s children to one day inherit the Promised Land, so Jesus Himself would come out of Egypt to lead His children to the new Promised Land – His Heavenly Kingdom.

It is hard to fathom the mind of an individual like Pharaoh or Herod who could feel no remorse over the wholesale slaughter of innocent babies and young children – all because they feared a threat to their earthly rule.

When no thought is given to acts of goodness, because one’s mind and heart are controlled by feelings of pride, greed and self-gratification and unbridled fear, then the acts committed become unconscionable, especially when such acts disregard the very sanctity of life which most people hold dear.

All this violence against completely innocent children prefigures the death of Jesus who, Himself, would be completely innocent. Just as these children were like innocent lambs led to the slaughter, so, too, would Jesus experience the same fate Himself, for the massacre of the Holy Innocents bears witness to the Blood which Jesus Christ shed for each of us, which cleanses us from the stain of sin and frees us from death.

And just as our Responsorial Psalm today can speak to us about the freedom from Pharaoh’s oppression, so too, can we read into it our freedom from sin through the salvific action of Jesus Christ, “Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the LORD…”

In our own time, the Feast of the Holy Innocents takes on a new meaning in reminding us of the violence that is committed against children almost everywhere in the world on a daily basis. This violence may be in the form of abortion, sexual abuse or slavery, or emotional abuse or poverty or homelessness – the forms and the sorrows are many!

Our Christian faith can never condone unjust violence of any kind, especially when such violence is perpetrated against innocent babies and children!

Today’s Scripture Readings can serve the important purpose of motivating each of us to pray more earnestly and to work more devotedly towards the elimination of the abortion mentality in our own midst, along with all the other forms of violence against innocent children – wherever they may occur and in whatever form they may take.

In the Gospel today, we hear words from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled…”

We know how this story will one day end, for victory is assured and the ending has already been written! On that wonderful and most glorious day, the cry of the innocents will no longer be heard and Rachel’s weeping will finally cease – for God will triumph in all His Glory!

And in His Glory, violence will be no more, and the holy children, together with all the righteous, will inherit the Kingdom of God prepared for His children from the very foundation of the world and the beginning of time itself!

May each of us, with the help of God’s grace, be counted among their holy number!

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • Thus says the LORD: In Ramah is heard the sound of sobbing, bitter weeping! Rachel mourns for her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children – they are no more! Thus says the LORD: Cease your cries of weeping, hold back your tears! The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the LORD, they shall return from the enemy’s land.” (Jeremiah 31:15-16)
  • “The snare was broken, and we escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:7b-8)
  • “The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul. The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
  • “When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, of the ruin of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from the snare.” (Proverbs 3:24-26)
  • “Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, ‘We have fellowship with him,’ while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)
  • “To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

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Prayer for the Day

“Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy affection may drag downwards;
give us an unconquered heart,
which no tribulation can wear out;
give us an upright heart,
which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.

“Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God,
understanding to know You, diligence to seek You,
wisdom to find You,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace You;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

2 thoughts on “Meditation for the Day

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