December 28, Monday, Holy Innocents

1 John 1:5 - 2:2 / Matthew 2:13-18

We have been redeemed: Jesus’ blood purifies us.

There’s a story about a man who dove into a raging river to rescue a drowning boy. Miraculously, the man survived; even more miraculously, the boy was saved. After the boy had recovered from the ordeal, he said to the man, “Thank you, sir, for saving me from the river.” The man put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, “That’s okay, son! Just make sure your life was worth saving.” What that man said to the boy, Jesus could say to each one of us here. 


How are we trying to live so as to make our life worth saving by Jesus? “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing I can do, or any kindness that I can show a human being, let me do it now and not defer it. For I shall not pass this way again.” 


Today’s celebration shocks us into the realization that the birth of Christ was not all peace and joy. The coming of Jesus was the beginning of a struggle-to-death between the powers of evil and the kingdom of light, a struggle that would have its climax in the passion and death of Jesus. Herod stands here for the forces of evil. Even innocent children are often the victims of this enmity.

The story of the Innocents may very well be a theological illustration of Matthew on this climactic clash between good and evil that began with the birth of Jesus. Often, the innocents have to suffer on account of so much evil in the world caused by other people.


The first day of Christmas, the Church celebrated the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first Christian to witness to Christ with his life. 

The second day of Christmas, the Church honoured St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, who emphasized the divinity of Christ. These two men went into Biblical history and Church history as men who were faithful to God and walked in His ways. Today, we come across a man who was a tragedy to himself and he caused tragic consequences.

Because of his pathological state of mind and his paranoia, he ordered the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem, and it counted as nothing for him. And this makes us reflect on the horrible deeds that are done to children and the unborn: child abuse, child labour, child pornography, abortion, infanticide.

All this also counted as nothing for those who committed such atrocities and heinous crimes against children. The feast of the Holy Innocents does not just recall the innocent infants being martyred for Christ.

Because their blood now cries out for the children of the world who are suffering and being traumatized. We will recall the 20 young children and 6 teachers who were innocently gunned down just two weeks ago in Sandy Hook elementary school, Newtown, USA.

The blood of innocent young children cries out for the children of the world and cries out to us.

We have to teach and guide, protect and guard our children. If we cannot get that right, we will not be able to get anything right.

May God bless the children who are entrusted to us and may we care for them and guide them in the ways of the Lord. May Mother Mary and St. Joseph help us in this mission.

Opening Prayer Lord, our God, today’s innocent martyrs bore witness to you not by proclaiming your name in words but by laying down their lives for you, even though they were not aware of it.  We pray to you on their feast that we may bear witness to you both by the words we speak and the way we live what we believe in.  May we do so in the full awareness of what we are doing.  We ask you this through Christ, our Lord.