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. Through our Lord…
“The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint John (1 John 1:5—2:2)
Beloved: This is the message we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm124:2-3.4-5.7b-8 (R.7ab)
R/. Our life, like a bird, has escaped From the snare of the fowler.
“If the Lord had not been on our side
when men rose against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive
when their anger was kindled.” R.
“Then would the waters have engulfed us,
the torrent gone over us;
over our head would have swept
the raging waters.” R.
Indeed, the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth. R.
Alleluia. We praise you, O God; we acclaim you as the Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs sings your praise. Alleluia.
“Herod killed all the male children in Bethlehem.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 2:13-18)
When the Wise Men had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the Wise Men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the Wise Men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
For the selfish intention of trying to preserve his dynasty from unwanted intrusion, Herod killed the children we celebrate today as the Holy innocents. He wanted to get rid of baby Jesus so that he would be free, and his future would not be affected. How many Herod’s do we not have right in our midst today! Has the violence against children stopped? What are the reasons people commit abortion? Is it for the same reason that Herod killed those innocent children? we must stop this evil lest we end up the way Herod ended up (cf Acts 12:23). May God have mercy and heal the wounds of those who have committed abortion or meted our violence against the weak in the past and are ready to stand in with him in the future. May he also touch the hearts of those who are presently making plans to engage in that crime so that they may change and stand with God, who is light, at all times. Amen