December 28 – Holy Innocents

Matt 2:13-18

The Flight to Egypt

Today is Ninos Inocentes or the Feast of Holy Innocents. The Feast commemorates the massacre of the infant boys “from two years old and under,” by the jealous and insecure King Herod who heard about the new-born king. He thought that everyone was a threat to his throne and anytime, he would be dethroned by them. This was the reason why he murdered his wife, Mariame; Mariame’s two sons, grandfather and mother; had his two sons also, Aristobulus and Alexander murdered by his orders. Henri Daniel Rops in his book, Jesus and His Times (vol. 1, pp. 127-128) said that in his last years, Herod suffered from arteriosclerosis. He was in great pain and in mental and physical disorder. He altered his will three times. In his death agony, he ordered the massacre of the Jewish community to ensure that there would be tears shed over his grave.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men did not return to him, he was furious. In his rage, he ordered that every male child in Bethlehem, age of two years or less and its vicinity, be slain. These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Savior’s legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

On this feast of Holy Innocents, we think, too, of the millions of children who suffer and massacre through any forms of innumerable forms of violence which threaten their lives, dignity and right to education and life like: under the guise of laws permitting abortion which is an abominable crime; or innocently victimized by parental neglect and child labor and all forms of abuse. All of these cry to heaven for vengeance. These forms of violence and abuse show to us that even today children have plenty of Herods to fear and not only one.

Let us always remember that children are wonderful gifts from God. They are wonderful gifts because their sense of wonder is amazing and their attitude is inspiring. Listen to this story of a four-year old child who went to a pediatrician for a checkup. As the doctor looked down her ears with an otoscope, he asked, “Do you think I’ll find Big Bird in here?” The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. He asked, “Do you think I’ll find the Cookie Monster down there?” Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, “Do you think I’ll hear Barney in there?”

“Oh, no!” the little girl replied. “Jesus is in my heart. Barney’s on my underpants.”

Children occupy a very special place in the heart of Jesus. When His disciples were shooing them away, He did the opposite. He lets them in and welcomes them. Then He said: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Whoever causes one of these little ones 5 who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea,” (Matt 18:3-6).

So next time, let us be honest and humble and know that we are privileged for having the freedom to worship Him in this country, the Philippines.

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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