FIRST READING    
“The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint John (1John 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/.

R/. Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.

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
Alleluia. We praise you, O God; we acclaim you as the Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs sings your praise. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“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.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
Herod represents all those who use their position of power for their vested interests: leaders who lack vision and values and who misuse power to manipulate facts so as to remain in office. They suppress anyone who challenges their misrule and are never bothered about the wellbeing or welfare of the people. In different forms and in different societies we have Herods incarnate who kill, persecute and imprison children, mothers, and journalists so as to safeguard their interests. This feat reminds us that Jesus was born into a violent world of ruthless, self-centered and coldblooded leaders. It also highlights the power of innocence, which is the resistance to falsehood, corruption, manipulation and abuse of others.

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