Thursday, 28 December 2017 : Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we remember the memory of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, those young children of the place where the Lord and Saviour of the world was born, in Bethlehem, the City of David. The children were killed by the order of the king of Judea, Herod the Great, who was the ruler of the land of the time.

King Herod wanted to get rid of Jesus because the three Magi came to him asking him about the King Who was to come into the world, and they followed the Star of Bethlehem to the territory of Judea, Herod’s kingdom at the time. Herod himself came to power, according to history, through deceit and corrupt practices, including collaborating with the Romans that he was rewarded with the kingship over Judea and Samaria, and many other lands.

As a result, we can only deduce that Herod was immediately jealous and afraid of the Baby Jesus, Who was born as King, and as the True King of Israel. As Jesus is the King of Israel and indeed over the whole creation, Herod was merely a usurper and therefore, he was nobody. Yet, Herod wanted to preserve his power, kingship and privileges as king, and thus, instead of humbly recognising the true King, he plotted to have his rival destroyed.

That was why he tried to trick the three Magi to give him the location and information about the Messiah and King, but the Angel of God led the three Magi through another way, that Jesus was kept safe from the plots of Herod. That was when the Angel of God also led St. Joseph to bring both Mary and the Baby Jesus to Egypt, to keep him safe from His enemies. Herod was angry as he was not able to get his hands on Jesus, and ordered the massacre of all the babies and young children in Bethlehem aged two years old and younger.

Thus, today we remembered the memory of those innocent children who were martyred for the sake of the Lord, innocent victims of humanity’s greed and desire for power, for worldly glory and might, as displayed by king Herod and his attempt to kill Jesus the true King, and sacrificing many innocent people in the process. And therefore, we should spend some time to reflect about ourselves and our own lives, considering what had happened that day in Bethlehem.

Let us remember all the mothers and parents who lost their young children and babies because of the ambition and pride of humanity, as what happened in that occasion in Bethlehem. But we should not forget about the many other children and families affected in the same manner, throughout the world and throughout history. There are many other instances where many innocent ones suffered.

Let us remember all those young children and innocent ones who were manipulated into suffering, through vile practices that sadly still exist to this very day, as it was in the past, such as child labour, even child slavery and abuse, as well as the use of underage people in warfare and conflicts. This is the sad and wicked reality of our world today, just as it had happened to us mankind in the past.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all do our best as Christians, to stand up for the sake of the innocent children and all those who have been caught up in the midst of warfare, conflict, sufferings, abuse and many others, all because of our own human greed and desire for power, for prestige, for glory, for more wealth and influence in this world. Let us all put an end to these vile works if we ourselves have done them, or have taken part in them, and if we have been silent all these while, let us speak up for their sake.

Let us remember, that all these innocent children are also children of God, beloved and dear to Him, just as all of us are. We must not allow any forms of abuse or mistreatment of these people, who are indeed our brethren and relatives. God will show His wrath to those who are mistreating and abusing His beloved ones, and they will suffer the consequences of their actions at the time of their judgment.

During this Christmas season, let us return to the Lord and make Him once again the focus and the centre of our lives. Let us not be swayed by the temptation of worldly glory, power and prestige, wealth or any other forms of persuasions, which had brought so many of our brethren down into the trap laid down by Satan, through which he endeavoured to make us mankind fight one against the other, and oppress our brethren.

May the Lord our God forgive us our trespasses, and all that we have caused our brethren, to suffer and to be in pain, or for our ignorance of their need and our deafness to their pleas for help. May we all become ever more courageous to live faithfully in accordance with our faith. May God bless us always, now and forever. Amen.

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