28th December 2020


MONDAY, CHRISTMAS OCTAVE, Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Reading 1: 1 Jn 1:5 – 2:2 John tells us that we are all sinners and need Christ. His main concern is to keep us from further sin.

Gospel: Mt 2: 13-18 Matthew relates the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt and the massacre of the Holy Innocents—all male children under age two. These innocent children were slain for Christ. They follow the spotless Lamb, and proclaim forever: Glory to you, Lord.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, the earliest martyrs who lost their lives for the sake of Christ. They were the victims of man’s greed, envy and pride. We have been reflecting these days on the joy and blessing that the birth of Jesus brought to so many, like the shepherds and the magi, but there were also people like Herod who were greatly disturbed and threatened by the same. Even at birth, the Messiah faced rejection by his very own people who were more interested in their power and their position. This feast therefore, also marks the very first rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Why did God allow the sacrifice of these innocents? This question may come to our mind today. However, God did not cause these innocent children to be killed; it was the outcome of man’s inclination towards sin and rejection of God’s will. Our ambitions should not overshadow the plan of God, our will should not go before the will of God; otherwise, we will turn out like Herod who was blinded by his own pride and ego. When someone does good or achieves something, we must not be threatened like Herod; rather, like the shepherds, let us rejoice. We feel threatened only when we put ourselves before God, his people and his plans.

Even in today’s world, we find such events happening; there are people like Herod who are driven by inordinate love of self rather than the love of God and of neighbour. And in consequence, there are innocent people who become victims just like the Holy Innocents. With the increasing wars, conflicts and acts of terrorism happening to fulfill the vested interests of some for the sake of power and position; there are many, like refugees, migrants, the poor and the marginalized, who have become the Holy Innocents of our times. Therefore, on this feast, let us also pray for these innocent sufferers that they may receive God’s mercy and help.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 123:2-5,7-8 Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler

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