December 28, 2018

Holy Innocents

December 28, 2018:  Holy Innocents, Martyrs

  • 'Lights' tie:  God is light (1st reading)
  • Red shirt:  Martyrdom of Holy Innocents; Jesus' blood cleanses us (1st reading)
  • 'Bird' 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 searching for the child to destroy him (gospel)
  • 'Gun' pin:  Herod ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under (gospel)
  • 'OneLife LA' button:  Holy Innocents, help us to respect all human life.
  • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin, "No-L" button:  Christmas season
    • 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:  We can learn from Herod, the cruel jealous ruler who ordered the massacre.  We're capable of sacrificing others for our own advancement, of hurting others so we look better or improve our position.  We can profit from considering the Lord’s standard of poverty/simplicity to not seeking being honored, and humility before God.  The Holy Family were refugees who had to leave their homeland to escape violence, leaving everything behind except their dignity, which we all need to respect.
    • One Bread, One Body:  Herod massacred innocent children. Today thousands of innocent children are killed daily through surgical and chemical abortions, a death toll unprecedented in history.  Prayer and fasting are the most effective weapons in fighting the culture of death (EV 100). "Our battle is against principalities and powers, rulers of this world of darkness, evil spirits..." Some demons can't be driven out except by prayer and fasting.  May we not let demons use today's Herods to massacre innocent children.
      The Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents/ Dore
    • Passionist:  Receive into the arms of Your mercy all innocent victims, frustrate tyrants, and establish justice, love, and peace.  The holy innocents' lives were cut short thanks to a demonic ruler.  An innocent newborn baby reminds us of God’s love for all humanity.  We live in a world that seems void of innocence, compassion, and mercy.  Today's Herods spread the message of greed, corruption, and control.  Innocent victims are all around us:  the homeless, the poor, the underemployed....  May we focus on justice, love, and peace, frustrate tyrants, and raise up the innocent whenever we can....
    •  "Rachel weeping for her children":  Herod's massacre of children who gave their lives for a person and truth they didn't know seemed useless and unjust.  Why couldn't God prevent it?  We can't understand suffering.  These children are the first martyrs.  Suffering, persecution, and martyrdom are the lot of all Christ's disciples.  Jesus' death won eternal life for us; his blood obtained pardon and reconciliation with our Father.
    Suffering can take many forms:  illness, disease, handicap, pain, trauma, slander, abuse, poverty, injustice....  "In everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose."  Jesus said that those who are reviled and persecuted for righteousness' sake are blessed (makarios, happy), with a serene joy, self-contained and independent from chance and changing circumstances.
    Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God, but that blessedness became a sword that pierced her heart as he died; she received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow.  But her sorrow didn't diminish her joy fueled by faith and hope. "No one will take your joy."  God 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 of history, sacrificed because they “don’t matter.”  In God’s eyes everyone matters.  The honor given these infants reminds us that our suffering for God’s sake has value even if we have little or no say in it.  Remember those who die before birth....

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