One Minute Reflection – 28 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – The Holy Innocents, Martyrs – Apocalypse 14:1-5, Matthew 2:13-18 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Then Herod, perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry and sending, killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the borders …” – Matthew 2:16
REFLECTION – “Where does this jealousy lead?… The crime committed today shows us. Fear of a rival to his earthly kingdom fills Herod with anxiety, he plots to suppress “the newborn King” (Mt 2:2), the Eternal King; he fights against his Creator and puts innocent children to death… As for those children, what fault had they committed? Their tongues were dumb, their eyes had seen nothing, their ears heard nothing, their hands done nothing. They accepted death who had not known life. … Christ reads the future and knows the secrets of the heart, He weighs our thoughts and probes our intentions (cf. Ps 138): why did He forsake them? … Why did the newborn heavenly King abandon these companions in innocence, forget the sentinels watching around His crib, to such an extent that the foe, who wanted to get at the King, ravaged His whole army?
My brethren, Christ did not forsake His soldiers but covered them with honour, by allowing them to conquer, before they had lived and to carry away the prize, without a fight. … He wanted them to possess Heaven, rather than earth. … He sent them before Him as His heralds. He did not abandon them but saved those who went on ahead. He did not forget them. …
Blessed are they who have exchanged their travail for repose, their pains for ease, their suffering for joy. They are alive! Yes, they are alive, they live indeed who have undergone death for Christ’s sake. … Happy the tears their mothers shed for these infants, they have won them the grace of Baptism. … May He who deigned to rest in a stable, be pleased to lead us too, to the heavenly pastures.” – St Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 152 PL 52, 604).
PRAYER – O God, Whose praise the Innocents, Thy Martyrs, this day proclaimed, not by speaking but by dying, put to death in us all the wickedness of sin, so that the faith which our tongue professes, may be proclaimed also by our life. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).