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Doctrines & Morals

The Feast of Holy Innocents

1 Jn 1:5-2:2, Mt. 2:13-18. Lacking in moral conscience, Herod was prepared to murder innocent children in order to squash any future threat to his power. At the climax of his cruelty, the holy infants shed blood for Jesus. He was king, but was engrossed in fear and takes the life of others. Herod accomplishes his slaughter, driven by his fear of losing his power and infuriated by the failure of his attempted deception of the Magi. An early Christian writer says of Herod that he slay those little ones because fear in his heart slays him. Fear of his own conscience and love for power within him targeted the innocents. Many such figures litter political power, rulers without scruple, who can sacrifice human life just to keep themselves in power. This style of kingship, the dictatorship of Herod, was the polar opposite of the kingship that Jesus came to proclaim, the kind of authority suited to the Kingdom of God.

The child who escaped from Herod’s tyranny went on as an adult to say to His disciples: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.” None of us will ever act like Herod, but none of us can afford to be complacent either; we can all be prone to dominate in one way or another. Today's first reading declares: “If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth.” We are challenged to be ready to take path in the humble, self-emptying service of others, which is the way of Jesus and the way of God.

O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life! Amen!! Remain safe and have a glorious week!!!

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