December 28, 2015

Holy Innocents

December 28, 2015:  Holy Innocents, Martyrs

  • 'Children around Christmas trees" tie:  Holy Innocents
  • Red shirt:  martyrdom of Holy Innocents; Jesus' blood cleanses us (1st reading)
  • 'Bird' tie pin:  Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare. (psalm)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream (gospel)
  • 'Magnifying glass' pin:  Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him (gospel)


Pope Francis
To young adults at Taizé-organized meeting:  In this Jubilee of Mercy, the theme of mercy that brings you together makes me particularly close to you.  Reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Thank you for committing your creative forces and imagination to this.
You want mercy to be manifested in all its dimensions, including social ones.  Continue on this path; the courage of mercy will lead you not only to receive it for yourself but to come close to people in distress. Where there are Christians, anyone should be able to find an oasis of mercy.  This is what your communities can become.  This applies particularly to the migrants who need your welcome.  Your founder loved the poor, the disadvantaged, those who apparently don't matter; his and his brothers' lives showed that prayer goes together with solidarity.  By your practice of solidarity and mercy, may you live the demanding happiness the Gospel calls you to.
During these days you gather, may you better discover Christ, the face of the Father’s mercy.  He spoke through the prophet Hosea in the message, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”
  • 1 Jn 1:5—2:2  God is light; in him is no darkness.  If we walk in the light, we have fellowship...  If we acknowledge our sins, he will forgive and cleanse us.  Advocate Jesus Christ is expiation for our sins and the world's.
  • Ps 124:2-5, 7cd-8  "Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare."  Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
  • Mt 2:13-18  Angel to Joseph:  “Flee to Egypt; Herod wants to destroy the child.”  They departed.  Herod, realizing the magi deceived him, ordered the massacre of all the boys two years old and under.
    • Creighton:  How can we be repulsed by the massacre of the baby boys in Jesus' time and not at senseless killing today?  Holy Innocents, pray for us!
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Emergency call":  Today's Herods kill children through abortion, starvation, and abuse, but there are also Josephs told how to save children's lives.  What is God telling me?  What am I willing to hear?
      The Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents/ Dore
    • Passionist:   Today's feast highlights the difference Christian and secular celebrations of Christmas.  Secular Christmas is over:  gifts opened, food eaten, music no longer heard, decorations taken down.  But for Christians it's still the Christmas season, and the Christmas story is only one chapter in salvation history.  So we sing Glory to God in the highest, but we remember the cross is also part of the journey.  The Holy Innocents' martyrdom reminds us that even in the midst of rejoicing there can be sorrow.  They died in place of Christ.  Pray for those suffering pain and sorrow today, and reach out to alleviate their suffering.
    •  "Rachel weeping for her children":  Who can explain suffering, especially the suffering of innocent children? Herod's massacre seemed useless and unjust.  Why couldn't God have prevented it?  Suffering is a mystery.  These innocents are the first martyrs for Christ.  Suffering takes many forms:  illness, disease, handicap, physical and emotional pain, slander, abuse, poverty, injustice....  But in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose.  There's a paradox for those the Lord blesses:  Mary was blessed to be the mother of God, but a sword pierced her heart as her Son died on the cross; she received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow, but the sorrow didn't diminish her joy fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God.  "No one will take your joy from you."  The Lord gives each of us joy that enables us to bear sorrow or pain.
    • Universalis:  Holy Innocents, martyrs, baby boys slaughtered at Herod's orders in the hope that the newborn King of the Jews was among them.  They can stand for the “unimportant”/“unnecessary” pawns that permeate history, sacrificed because they “don’t really matter.”  In God’s eyes everyone matters; no one is unimportant or unnecessary.  The honor given to these infants reminds us that our suffering for God’s sake has value even if we have little or no say in it.  We also remember those who die before birth for the convenience of those who have them killed.

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