December 28 – Holy Innocents

Matt 2:13-18

The Flight to Egypt


Egypt, the cradle of ancient civilization, is north of Africa.

Egypt was a natural haven for the Jews. “Every city in Egypt had its colony of Jews. And when Joseph and Mary reached Egypt they would not find  themselves amidst strangers, for in every town and city, they would find Jews who had sought refuge there.”

For many, Egypt is a place of withdrawal or flight to keep one’s sanity, inner strength and peace, if not for mere protection. It is a place of intimate encounter with God, a place where one can sort out inner conflict and conflict of relationship.

In our journey with Christ can we identify our own “Egypt” in times of conflict situations?

The Holy Family did not at all stay in Egypt for good. They left Egypt, returned to Israel, and made their home in Nazareth. Why? Because the Lord had said through the prophet, “I called my son out of Egypt” and “He will be called a Nazarene.”\indeed, one’s “Egypt” is not meant to be a permanent place of withdrawal, but an initial stage of self-confrontation prior to a stage where one could say, “I shall return to bring peace, harmony and salvation.” (Fr. Mio Sombrio, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


This is one day in the whole year wherein we are very alert and ready for anyone who will try to make of us an object of jokes and laughter. We detest becoming the “Inosente”. Woe to you if you fall a victim of this. On the other hand, one who has never learned to laugh at one self will always have a very difficult time accepting jokes directed at oneself. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Today is Ninos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) Day. The feast commemorates the massacre of the infant boys “from two years old and under,” by the jealous, insecure King Herod who heard about the new-born king.

On this day we recall the horrors and grief of mothers over the slaughter of innocent children which compelled Joseph to “take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt.”

Trials and sufferings had hounded Christ right from birth ‘til his death. Although Son of God, he was not immune from sufferings. Sufferings, Jesus wants to say, is part and parcel of human life.

On this feast of Holy Innocents, we think, too, of the millions of children massacred through abortion or innocently victimized by parental neglect and child labor and all forms of abuse. All of these cry to heaven for vengeance.

In the Philippines, Ninos Inocentes Day has become notorious for pranks and mischief by people out to take advantage of the unwary, innocent and gullible.

For instance, if some “relative” or “friend” tries to borrow money or someone rings you up saying that your father abroad or a relative in the province has died, beware!

Double check the source or inquire further. It might all just be a prank or mischief.

On the feast of Holy Innocents, ask yourself: What I am doing to protect the life of the innocent? While suffering is part of human existence, am I doing something positive to alleviate the sufferings of people, especially helpless and innocent children? (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


….The same dangers also threatened the life of the child Jesus. Herod was so blinded by his craving for perpetual power that he would not allow anybody to threaten his position, including innocent children. The Feast of the Holy Innocents, massacred on the order of Herod, may dampen the joyous celebration of the birth of Christ. But the nearness of these two feasts has a meaning: the life of Jesus is composed of both happy and sad realities. Persecution and suffering accompanied his life until the end.

Here is a legend fitting for this feast: Tired on their way to Egypt on a cold night, Mary and Joseph found a cave where they rested. On the entrance of the cave, a spider is said to have webbed a net in order to protect the family from being caught by the soldiers of Herod. When the soldiers passed by the cave in search for the child, they saw that the cobweb was intact. So they thought that the cave was abandoned for a long time and nobody was inside. They did not go inside the cave, thus sparing the life of Jesus!

Like the little spider, we could do more to protect the children, to care for them and to help them live a promising life! (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


The story is told about a husband who gifted his wife with a bracelet. When the wife asked him why the sudden surprise, he responded: “A four-letter word made me do it.” You mean “LOVE”? she asked with a thrilled smile. “No,” he responded, “SALE.”

What is the four letter word that made Herod kill so many innocent children? “FEAR!” and that is the very same four-letter word that often makes us hurt so many innocent people around us.

Because of our fear of being uncovered, we often resort to lying and compromise in our decisions, words and actions. Because of our fear of loneliness and rejection, we often sell out on our principles and on our very souls.

There is a beautiful prayer, the driver’s prayer that says: “Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand, a watchful eye, so that no one will be hurt as I pass by…”

As we journey on in life, may we not hurt people. How many people are unhappy because of us?

The Herod in us should die, that part of us which eliminates or steps on others just to get going up, and going up ahead. Instead of fear, let love move us, and when we are free, it does not really matter whether we are up or down, ahead or behind. If we love, we are not afraid of anything or of anyone and we do not need to control, manipulate or eliminate anything or anyone. (Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


December 28, 2016 Wednesday

In watching Filipino movies, I observe that the main character is always beset with many struggles and pains. As we commonly say, “Ganyan talaga ang bida, inaapi muna bago ang happy ending” (the protagonist must be hurt before a happy ending). This is somehow the same with the story of our Lord made flesh. He was born hidden and hunted by Herod, the ‘contrabida’(antagonist).

Attachment to power could lead a person into doing evil things. King Herod was an example of this reality. He was so afraid of losing his power knowing that the prophecy had been fulfilled. This was the reason why the massacre of innocent children during the time of Moses had happened again, this time attempting to kill the infant Jesus.

“Out of Egypt I called my Son”, the Lord said through the prophet. But Jesus, the new born child was helpless to move on his own. Now, how will I protect the innocents, like the child Jesus, away from harm? They all have the right to live and create a beautiful story in this world. In the Gospel, an angel of the Lord told Joseph to take the child and his mother out of Egypt. In the same way, I am also called to become the Joseph of today.

As we commemorate the Holy Innocents, I am challenged to be a protector of God’s children. I have to be aware that every child brings brilliant ideas for a brighter future of humanity. I must also remember that I am called in leading them to the Lord. I pray that we may become sharers in God’s glorious and endless story of love for humankind. (Sem. Marlon Jay B. Cabase | CKMS, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)


December 28, 2012

The Holy Innocents, martyrs
(Feast) RED

1 Jn 1:5—2:2
Ps 124
Mt 2:13-18

Mt 2:13-18
The Flight to Egypt

13When [the magi] had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” 14Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. 15He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. 17Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:/ 18“A voice was heard in Ramah,/ sobbing and loud lamentation;/ Rachel weeping for her children,/ and she would not be consoled,/ since they were no more.”


The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph. Joseph appears only twice in the gospels. In both instances, the sequence is the same: an angel appears to Joseph, Joseph is commanded to do something, and he carries out the divine mandate.

In the first instance (Mt 1:20-24), Joseph is told to take Mary his wife into his home and to name her son Jesus. And in today’s Gospel, Joseph is instructed to take Mary and Jesus in exile to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous quest of the Child.

In neither case is there any recorded response from Joseph. But actions speak louder than words. Joseph listens, obeys, and does what he is commanded to do. Joseph follows the angel’s instructions for the safety of Jesus and Mary, for the love of his family.

People brighten up the lives of others by their service, help, availability, and sacrifice. We are thus challenged to bring light to others, keep our family one and intact, sacrifice out of love for a better future of the children, be dedicated and faithful, like Joseph.

God wants our safety and works for our protection. He uses and sends people to save and protect us. He may rouse us, too, and send us to save and protect other people.

“The greatest gift parents can give their children is their love for each other.” How true is this saying?


Feast of the Holy Innocents (Year C)

Mateo 2:13-18. Kinsa man ang mga Herodes ning modernong panahon? Atong gihandum karon ang mga gagmay’ng bata nga sa walay kalooy gipamatay ni Hari Herodes. Atong masabtan sa ebanghelyo nga gibuhat kini ni Herodes tungod sa iyang kahadlok nga mapulihan sa iyang trono pinaagi sa batang matawo nga mahimong hari sa mga Hudeyo. Sa atong panahon karon, ang pagpamatay sa mga bata nagpadayon pinaagi sa aborsyon. Ang mga aborsyonista ug ang mga tawo nga nagsuporta sa aborsyon mao ang mga bag-ong Herodes. Wala silay kahadlok o pagtahod sa Ginoo nga maoy tag-iya sa tanang kinabuhi sa tawo. Ang gipamatay ni Herodes gamay ra kaayo nga itandi sa kadaghan sa mga bata karon nga gipangpatay sa matag adlaw pinaagi sa aborsyon. (Fr Abet Uy)


Mateo 2:13-18

KINSA MAN ANG MGA HERODES NING MODERNONG PANAHON? Atong gihandum karon ang mga gagmay’ng bata nga sa walay kalooy gipamatay ni Hari Herodes. Gibuhat kini ni Herodes tungod sa iyang kahadlok nga mapulihan sa iyang trono pinaagi sa batang matawo nga mahimong hari sa mga Hudiyo. Sa atong panahon karon, ang pagpamatay sa mga bata nagpadayon pinaagi sa aborsyon. Ang mga aborsyonista ug ang mga tawo nga nagsuporta sa aborsyon mao ang mga bag-ong Herodes. Wala silay kahadlok o pagtahod sa Ginoo nga maoy tag-iya sa tanang kinabuhi sa tawo. Ang gipamatay ni Herodes gamay ra kaayo nga itandi sa kadaghan sa mga bata karon nga gipangpatay sa matag adlaw pinaagi sa aborsyon. Hinaot unta nga motabang kita sa pagpanalipod sa mga batang inosente, ilabina sa mga bata sulod sa sabakan sa inahan. Posted by Abet Uy Mateo 2:13-18


Sunday, December 27, 2015


KINSA MAN ANG MGA HERODES NING MODERNONG PANAHON? Atong gihandum karon ang mga gagmay’ng bata nga sa walay kalooy gipamatay ni Hari Herodes. Gibuhat kini ni Herodes tungod sa iyang kahadlok nga mapulihan sa iyang trono pinaagi sa batang matawo nga mahimong hari sa mga Hudiyo. Sa atong panahon karon, ang pagpamatay sa mga bata nagpadayon pinaagi sa aborsyon. Ang mga aborsyonista ug ang mga tawo nga nagsuporta sa aborsyon mao ang mga bag-ong Herodes. Wala silay kahadlok o pagtahod sa Ginoo nga maoy tag-iya sa tanang kinabuhi sa tawo. Ang gipamatay ni Herodes gamay ra kaayo nga itandi sa kadaghan sa mga bata karon nga gipangpatay sa matag adlaw pinaagi sa aborsyon. Hinaot unta nga motabang kita sa pagpanalipod sa mga batang inosente, ilabina sa mga bata sulod sa sabakan sa inahan. Posted by Abet Uy


FIGHT FOR LIFE – The massacre of the innocents is one of the most shocking events in our history. But this is still nothing compared to the “massacre” happening globally now. reports: In 2011, approximately 1.06 million abortions took place in the U.S., down from an estimated 1.21 million abortions in 2008, 1.29 million in 2002, 1.31 million in 2000 and 1.36 million in 1996. From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S. (AGI).

The Church rejoiced in the conversion of a well-known abortionist, Dr. Nathanson, who was once staunch enemy of Pro-Life advocates. He was the director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health in New York City. In that position, he oversaw some 60,000 abortions. He performed some 5,000 abortions in his private practice, and supervised residents in training who performed another 10,000 abortions (Source: The Hand of God, Nathanson).

John Bruchalski was also into this kind of work. He entered medical school in 1983 at the University of South Alabama. Contraception and abortion seemed to him “the way to promote health and happiness and wholeness in a woman’s reproductive life.” Aiming to be the best gynecologist he could, he learned the different methods for abortion, sterilization, and artificial reproduction, and began providing them during residency (Source: LifeSiteNews).

We take pleasure in the fact that there are people like Nathanson and Bruchalski who have experienced a change of heart. So much like the Apostle Paul, who was once a persecutor of Christians but turned into an ardent defender of the faith. This gives us hope that, even in the midst of clamors to legalize this, our opposition to it can still gain grounds through people who would dare to prevent the repeat the Massacre of the Innocents in Jesus’ time. May the Holy Innocents whose feast we celebrate today intercede for us as we bring the enemies of life to conversion. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you support life?

Lord Jesus, I know that Your heart bleeds for the innocent ones. I pray, too, for the mothers who chose to abort their babies for whatever reason.


NAMELESS AND SILENT SAINTS – The Gospel proclamation is the biblical basis for the feast of the Holy Innocents that started to be commemorated in the fifth century. Scholars estimated that if the population of the little city of David in Jesus’ time was about 1,000, around 20 infant boys aged two years old and below could have been slain through the orders of the insecure king, Herod. We must emphasize then that although these slain infants are called “Holy Innocents,” what we honor is not their innocence. They are holy, not by the grace of innocence, but by their martyrdom which is different from most saints and martyrs of our faith. The majority of the saints and martyrs that the Church has canonized and accorded days of memorials gave their lives with willingness, knowing fully well the reason of their offering of life: their uncompromising faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. The martyrdom of the Holy Innocents had two unique qualities:

They died as martyrs without probably knowing and understanding what they were getting into.

They died as “silent martyrs” for theirs was a “wordless martyrdom.” They did not have the ability and gift to express their offering of life for Jesus in the eloquent manner like that of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who is now known for his dying words: “I am a Christian, and if I have a thousand lives I will offer them all for my faith in Jesus.”

These two qualities of their martyrdom give us the enduring message of the feast of the Holy Innocents. They tell us, Christians of our time, that we can be nameless witnesses of our faith through our perseverance and constancy in abiding with the ways of goodness and peace. They illustrate to us that martyrdom can happen in the silence of our voluntary offerings of whatever our individual lives bring before us as trials and difficulties of living. They tell us that saintliness is for all, that it is not so much an effort, but a way of abandonment into God’s mysterious ways. That in all, God’s plan is done, and God’s glory is proclaimed. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Who, for you, are the contemporary “holy innocents”? Why? May I be like the holy innocents who abandoned themselves into Your hands, O Lord.

May everything in my life be used to proclaim Your glory. Amen.


1 Jn 1: 5—2: 2; Mt 2: 13-18

The Holy Innocents

Today the Church venerates the memory of the infants who were killed by the order of  king Herod in Bethlehem and its surroundings.

If we take a closer look at Chapter II of Mathew’s Gospel, we find the major theme of the chapter is “God protects the child Jesus” from his enemies. Mother Mary, Joseph, the star, the angel, the kings from the east, the infants and their weeping mothers were helpers who assisted God in the noble venture of protecting the life of Jesus from the hands of Herod.

Today we are called to protect the infants all over the world suffering untold atrocities – brutality that begins from the mother’s womb, children denied of elementary education and forced into bonded labour, children forcefully employed in the market for cheap wages, working in garages day night suffering all ill-treatment  by their bosses, to name a few. Who will stand up to give them their rights?  Become friendly with the unloved, abandoned,abused and orphaned children all over the world and do something for their well-being.

Malala Yousufzai is the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban extremists because she dared to go to school which was banned by Taliban. She wrote in her Diary, “I was afraid of going to school because Taliban has introduced an edict banning all girls from attending schools. On my way from school to home I heard a man saying, “I will kill you”. She dared the powerful Taliban and became the symbol of courage in the world of terrorism and killing of innocents.

Anne Frank’s Diary (1945) inspired millions all over the world because of her optimism and hope despite  her brutal death in the Concentration Camps. She wrote in her diary, â€œIn spite of the human suffering, torture and killing, every human being living on earth is basically good”

Herod and his associates were eager to persecute because of their self interests of power and position and were ready to eliminate the new born Messiah. The reaction of the institutional religion and civil power (Herod, Chief Priests and Scribes) was in sharp contrast with that of the wise men (kings of the East). The latter met God in the manger, worshipped him and offered gifts and returned enriched. For this they emptied themselves and Infant Jesus filled their hearts with eternal peace and joy. The coming of Jesus poses an option before us: to choose life or death. To choose Jesus means to choose life. To choose to be a member of his kingdom is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to the powers and the riches of this world. Fr. Shepherd Thelapilly CMI


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday December 28, The Holy Innocents, martyrs; Matthew 2:13-18

What fuels extreme anger? It’s arrogance of power, it’s the mindset of ego and superiority. But the trouble with extreme anger is it makes us capable of doing extreme and dangerous acts too.

For example, in a quarrel between husband and wife. When the quarrel reaches its highest point both spouses could say and do things that they would regret after a few days or even hours. But the damage has been done already and there are times that the damage done would be irreversible no matter the regret and remorse.

So what should we do to avoid being sucked into this troublesome situation? Avoid the mindset of superiority and arrogance. Even if we have all the power and authority in this world let us not allow ourselves to be possessed by that power otherwise it will eventually destroy us.

Be humble instead, be considerate and be gentle. Be calm and collected under pressure of anger for this is how you could best live the teachings of Jesus.

When King Herod ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity within the age of two years and below (Matthew 2:16). His order was certainly fueled by his arrogance, ego, abuse of power and the mindset of superiority.

Did Herod suffer for his despicable act? He did certainly, he suffered in silence and he had no peace of mind for the rest of his life. This could happen to us also when we are arrogant and when we allow blind and extreme anger to rule us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Wednesday of Christmas Week

1 Jn 1: 5 – 2: 2; Ps 124: 2-3. 4-5. 7b-8; Mt 2: 13-18

Holy Innocents

Today Church remembers the innocent children who were killed by Herod in his attempt to remove forever the presence of Jesus in his childhood itself. When Herod came to know that the three wise men who came to offer respect to child Jesus fooled him and went away through another route, as they were instructed by an angel, he became furious and ordered the killing of all children below the age of two years in Bethlehem and surrounding areas. Bethlehem is not a large city, perhaps the population comprised of a thousand people, so the male infants under two years of age might not be too large, although the early church greatly exaggerated its estimates of this number.

There is no record of this incident other than Matthew’s account, but the story is fully in keeping with Herod’s cruel ways. In Herod we see a man too crazy about power. He killed anyone whom he thought to be a rival, including his wife and three of his sons. There is no reason not to believe this account of a massacre of babies. He would go to any extreme to preserve his power. There is no place for compassion and wisdom in the madness after power. We see such people throughout human history. May that be a Hitler or Stalin or any modern day autocrat of our country or elsewhere in the world, once a man becomes mad of power, the feelings of the heart are lost completely. Murderous behaviour by one tribe––or religion––against another is still rampant today. Remember the massacres of colonists in the name of Christian religion or the massacres of non-Muslims by the Muslim rulers or the recent mass executions of Christians by the ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The power crazy would do anything to grasp power and to remain in power. The life of others, may that be of their friends or foes, does not hold of much value to them. They are the centre of their life. And only they exist in their life. But the human history teaches us the fact that such madness is short lived. Those who did everything in their control to cling on to power are also dead and gone. What prevails and succeeds is the plan of God. He will execute his plan victoriously. The mansions that are built up on the bones of those who were killed proclaim of the cruelty of the people in power. They forget conveniently that they too will be reduced to mere bones sooner or later and fall unto the ground. Herod is not fully dead and gone, but he is still alive within us and around us. There is a bit of Herod in each one of us. When we feel threatened that our security zones are under attack and our power structures are about to crumble, we too resort to too many gimmicks to cling on to power rungs.

Let us also remember the hardships the Holy family suffered in its exile to Egypt. How hard it would have been to Mother Mary just after her delivery to travel such a long distance from Bethlehem to Egypt with the just born babe in her hands. Even today with advance mode of transportations it takes days to complete the route. The fact that they had to travel under complete secrecy to avoid the spies and the soldiers of Herod added to their woes. Lakhs of people are becoming refugees every year due to war between nations and calamities. When we sit comfortably in our cosy rooms during this festive season, let us not forget the hardships of the refugees of our own times. Let us pray that the warring nations may come to their senses and stop inflicting violence on innocent people. May lasting peace prevail on earth. Dr Martin Mallathu CMI


December 28, 2016

We are remembering today a group of babies killed by King Herod the Great shortly after the birth of Jesus in the circumstances described in today’s gospel reading.

This massacre of babies is not recorded by any pagan author, but knowing what kind of man Herod was, we are not surprised by it. For Herod killed his wife Mariamme, her two sons, her mother and grandfather. He also killed his first-born son, Antipater. He strangled with his own hands his brother-in-law Aristobulus, and had his own sons Aristobulus and Alexander, murdered on his orders. On one occasion he had 40 young men burned alive as living torches. And so, dispatching 20 or 25 babies (the estimated number of victims according to experts in demography) was for Herod totally in character.

In our times, too, children suffer many forms of violence. Millions are murdered in their mother’s womb and with their mother’s consent. Millions are victims of war, starved, abused by pornographers, forced to live on the streets. Yes indeed, children still have plenty of Herods to fear.

Let us work together and find ways and means to protect today’s children from violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: December 28 (Holy Innocents)

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