Homily for the Feast of the Holy Innocents (1)

children of God

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Innocents
Theme: The sacredness of life
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Tuesday December 28 2021
Mt 2:13-18
When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod realized 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. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”
The feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, is celebrated on December 26. Two days after, we celebrate the feast of the youngest martyrs, the Holy Innocents. They are “all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under” who were killed by order of King Herod.
The Magi had gone to visit the Infant Jesus in Bethlehem. But “having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route” (Lk 2:12). Realizing that he had been deceived by the Magi, Herod is really furious – and also frightened. To have a rival to his throne is simply out of the question. So, he orders the massacre of these innocent boys in Bethlehem and its nearby area. This is to make sure he wipes out the “King of the Jews” that the Magi told him about.
We are all horrified by this dastardly act of Herod. But that is what usually happens when pride, selfishness, greed and jealousy come into play. That is why this horrible act continues until now and it is being done by so many people. What Herod has done pales in comparison to the millions of unborn babies killed by their own mothers in abortion.
The feast today reminds us of the sacredness of life, from the moment of conception until the person’s last breath. The culture of death that has spread with impunity in modern society has led to the untold sufferings of so many people, especially the young and innocent. As Christians, we are challenged to oppose this culture of death and steadfastly promote and defend the gift of human life. This is what Christmas is all about. The Son of God is born so that, by sacrificing His own life, we may have the fullness of life.
The Gospel proceeds to tell us about what happens to the Holy Family upon hearing about the king’s plan to kill the Child. The angel appeared again to Joseph in a dream, warning him of the impending danger, and instructing him to take the Child and His mother and find refuge in Egypt. On that very night they set off for Egypt and did not return until after the death of Herod. By this, the prophecy of Hosea in the Scriptures is fulfilled: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
The world we live in is replete with all sorts of danger, especially to the helpless and innocent children. There is no more place safe, not even in the womb of the mother. The Holy Family reveals to us the way to remain safe: always obey promptly and stay close to God. Being the protector and provider of the Holy Family, this is what Joseph precisely did. He does not lose time in following the instruction of the angel. He is stays close and attuned to God’s voice all the time. And he always acts swiftly in response to God’s will and instructions.
Let us resolve to be active and courageous defenders of life, especially the unborn as well as all children. We cannot allow the culture of death to further spread and increase. As members of God’s family in Jesus, we are, after all, destined to share in the fullness of life that Jesus brings, and enjoy the everlasting and happiness promised us. We should be pro-life, now and for always.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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