4th Day of Christmas – Feast of the Holy Innocents

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‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.’[

As we continue our celebration of the twelve days of Christmas…the official Christmas season, we are forced to break from the joy and merriment that is filling our hearts…we are prompted by the good and Holy Church to remember the Holy Innocents... those young children…those babies who were killed by Herod in attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. As we recognize these Holy Innocents, we are reminded of the difficult journey that the Holy Family endured…Joseph, who had already struggled with the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy, was roused from his sleep by an angel and told to flee with Mary, who had just given birth to Jesus…it was a difficult journey, that we read about in the Gospel of Matthew.

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Gospel  Matthew 2: 13-18

When 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.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He 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.

When 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.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

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.

This feast of the Holy Innocents also prompts us to remember all the holy innocent children…the innocent babies, who were martyred for the life of Christ. Since the fifth century the Catholic Church has set aside the 28th of December as a day to remember the innocent babies who were slaughtered by King Herod in his effort to kill the baby Jesus. What separates these martyrs from the others, is that they died saving God...in the Christ Child. They did not know Him…but their lives were, in fact, given so that the prophecy of old might be fulfilled…and because they died in total innocence they were immediately received into Heaven.

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One of the things that always gets me right to the core…is the anguish of the mother’s faces in all of the paintings I have seen…the pain is like that of a sword piercing the heart…it is an inconsolable ache that never leaves. The mother’s faces are in stark contrast to the innocence of the babes…and the angry men who are doing the slaughtering for Herod…

As we celebrate Mass and pray for all the names of the children who have been lost…it always makes me sad to contemplate the mother’s who have been lied to by the abortion industry…they have been fed the lies of the devil…

Well sure, I know some of them come  to seek out this atrocity on their own…but most of the women who find themselves stepping into the horrors of an abortion mill…have been lied toby at least one person in their life…as Faithful Catholics, we have to ask ourselves…When the rest of the world is caught in the lying, who is going to tell them the Truth?? Who is going to take the time to guide them and comfort them? It is not an easy road….but it is the call within each of us who want to do God’s work…and want to fight against this growing tide of darkness that is threatening to consume God’s entire creation.

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As we read about the murders and contemplate the artistic renderings of the slaughter, we must accept the fact that the Holy Innocents expose a terrible truth that still grips the hearts of man today… King Herod killed all these young children because he was filled with fear that the birth of Christ would mean an end to his kingdom …he was afraid that it would mean the end of his reign… He was afraid that he would lose whatever power he had attained… This fear gripped him so much that he was willing to have thousands of innocent babies killed… because they didn’t matter… all that mattered to him was the fear that gripped his being…

This brings us back to the scourge of abortion throughout our lands today. The fear that prompted King Herod to send his minions on a killing spree, is the same fear that grips the hearts of many who think that if they just abort the ‘unborn fetus’…they will maintain control of their lives. Sometimes, it is a boyfriend who doesn’t want to commit to the relationship..or a parent who thinks they are preserving their daughters life…all the while encouraging her to kill her unborn child….all the while not even recognizing it as murderDear Lord have mercy on us all...

But what all of these people do not understand is that their fear makes them lose focus of the Truth…it distorts and causes one to look only at the self. Fear is a powerful emotion that can drive a person into doing some pretty awful things. As Catholics, we need to help these people find the Truth…we have to pray that God will use us to defeat the lies of the evil one and end this scourge which has been a plague upon our world for almost fifty years.

Do not be afraid,” is a common theme of the New Testament…and ‘Be Not Afraid‘ was one of the slogans of Pope John Paul the II, it is time to make it our slogan as well. It is time to be a voice for the voiceless…and end the silence which  allows the blood of so many innocent children to be spilled in our country today. May the Lord have mercy on us, who do nothing, and allow the little ones…His little ones, to be handed over to such a cruel and senseless death. Amen.

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Holy children of God, you suffered death before you enjoyed the fullness of life, yet now you rest and reign with Christ in glory.   Look down from heaven on our poor earth where children like you still suffer and die at the hands of those blinded by this world.   Surround and protect the innocent and when our own poor efforts fail, comfort and console the parents whose loss we can hardly comprehend or imagine.  We commend to your joyful company in heaven the souls of all dear children who have died.   Help us to become like you, simple, pure and true! Teach us to accept love and blessings like you!   Fill us with the joy and laughter of life to remind us that to such babes as you, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.   AMEN.   Father Joseph Veneroso, M.M.

 

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