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.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy innocents. They were innocent in a double sense: first, because they were little children and second, because they suffered without committing any offence. In our everyday life many people suffer innocently. Our prison yards and police cells are full of such innocent victims. Have you ever been a victim of such? Our solace is in the Lord. These children suffer so that the saviour of the world will be safe. When we suffer unjustly, let us be steadfast because, like the Holy innocents, we shall be celebrated in heaven.
Lord, grant that we may never be wanting in doing good deeds, not even in the face of persecution, since our eventual reward will be eternal life.