Today’s Celebration: Feast of the Holy Innocents (1st Century)
1 John 1:5 –2:2 – Psalm 124 – Matthew 2:13-18
“Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.” (Today’s ‘response verse to Psalm 124)
I found it very difficult this morning to find a verse from the Scriptures appointed for today’s liturgy to begin my reflection. Nothing seemed to fit from any of the readings for this “2nd Day of the Octave of Christmas.” Yet, there must be some reason that this commemoration got into our liturgical cycle.
It’s easy for us to see how St. Stephen (December 26th) and St. John the Apostle (December 27th) found their way into our celebration of the Octave of Christmas that we might be saved. Then, out of the blue, we come to today’s Liturgy, the Feast of the Holy Innocents which seems so out of sync with the joyful celebrations surrounding the Birth of the Messiah. This might give us insight into why the “prosperity-Gospel preachers” are so far off base. God didn’t send His Son into our world that we might live in luxurious houses or have a yacht by our vacation home on the lake. I remember seeing a brochure from some non-denominational church that announced, “Come to such-and-such church where nice people meet a nice God!” How preposterous can you get? In the first place … a lot of us are not nice people. You don’t have to look very far afield in our world today to see the reality of this. The only way we might consider our God being nice is in the context of our 1st Scripture reading today: “But if anyone does sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” (1 John 2:2)
Bottom line? I think there isn’t any way we can understand why there is evil in the world. But this shouldn’t stop any of us from trying as much as we can not to be evil people but to be peacemakers. There are wars going on all over our world today and we can see that killing the people who are killing people does nothing to stop the violence. Dictators, like Herod, are around us on all sides and their killings have done nothing to bring about peace and justice. I’ll leave it there since I don’t have any better way to end this reflection. Our prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …” Amen!