HOMILY FOR FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS
THEME: Standing Up Against Oppression
BY: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents and Martyrs. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 2: 13-18), we hear about King Herod’s brutal order to slaughter all boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity in an attempt to kill the newborn Jesus.
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In 1980, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a young doctor named Bodiba was working in a small hospital in a remote village. When Soviet soldiers attacked the village, Bodiba courageously sheltered and treated wounded civilians, including children. When the soldiers demanded that she hand over the children, Bodiba refused, stating that they were “like her own family.” The soldiers brutally beat her and destroyed the hospital, but Bodiba’s bravery inspired the villagers to resist and protect each other.
Bodiba’s courage, like the Holy Innocents’ martyrdom, teaches us that standing up against oppression and protecting the vulnerable is a fundamental aspect of our faith. Just as the Holy Innocents’ tragic deaths testify to the horrors of sin and oppression, Bodiba’s bravery shows us that even in the darkest moments, love and compassion can triumph.
As we reflect on this feast day, let us remember the countless innocent victims of violence and oppression throughout history and today. May their witness inspire us to stand against injustice and protect the most vulnerable among us, just like Bodiba and countless others have done.
May we also find comfort in Jesus’ words, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” May the Holy Innocents’ intercession strengthen our resolve to build a world where love, mercy, and peace reign.
Let us pray for the grace to cherish every human life and to work tirelessly towards a world where no innocent person suffers harm or violence. May we be instruments of peace and hope in a world still marked by darkness and despair.
May the Holy Innocents’ martyrdom inspire us to live out our faith with courage and compassion, and may we join our sufferings to those of Christ for the salvation of the world. Amen.
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