One Minute Reflection – 28 December – The Feast of the Holy Innocents and the Fourth Day of the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 1:5-2:2, Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8, Matthew 2:13-18
“When Herod realised that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the Magi.“” – Matthew 2:16
REFLECTION – “Why, Herod, do you fear when you hear a King is born? He has not come to dethrone you but to overthrow the devil. But you fail to understand, you take fright and fall into a fury. Because you lost the single child you were seeking, you become the cruel murderer of the many. Neither the weeping mothers’ love, nor the mourning of fathers weeping for their sons, nor the screams and howling of the children themselves, holds you back. You massacre these little ones in their bodies because fear is killing you, in your heart. And you think that, if you achieve your end, you will live on for a long time, whereas it is Life itself you are trying to kill! He Who is the source of grace, Who is both small and great, Who is lying in a manger, causes your throne to topple. He accomplishes His design through you, without your knowing it. He gathers together the children of your enemies and makes of them, children of adoption.
These little ones died for Christ without knowing it ; their parents weep for the death of Martyrs. Although they were unable to speak, Christ made them capable of being His Witnesses. See how this King reigns. Already He is setting free and bestowing salvation. But as for you, Herod, you are oblivious of what is happening, you take fright and fall into a rage. And when you get annoyed with a little Child, you are already placing yourself at His service without realising it.
How great the gift of grace is! What are the merits by which these children won the victory? They could not yet speak but already, they are confessing Christ. Their little bodies are as yet unable to engage in combat but already, they are carrying off the Palm of Victory.” – St Quodvultdeus (Died c 453) Father, Bishop at Carthage fromc 437-c 450 (Second sermon on the Creed; PL40, 655).
PRAYER – We praise You, O God, we acclaim You as Lord, the white-robed army of Martyrs praise You. (From the Te Deum).