Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 28.12.2021

TUESDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS

FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS, Martyrs

FIRST READING
1ST JOHN 1: 5 – 2: 2

Beloved: This is the message we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 
Psalm 124: 2 – 5, 7b – 8 (R.) 7ab

R/. Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.

If the Lord had not been on our side
when men rose against us, 
then would they have swallowed us alive
when their anger was kindled.” R/.

Then would the waters have engulfed us, 
the torrent gone over us;
over our head would have swept
the raging waters.” R/.

Indeed, the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped. 
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth. R/.

ALLELUIA

Alleluia.
We praise you, O God; we acclaim you as the Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs sings your praise.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
MATTHEW 2: 13 – 18

When the Wise Men had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the Wise Men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the Wise Men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

REFLECTION: From Tragedy to Glory
Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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. Matthew 2:16

Today on the fourth day of the Octave of Christmas, we are given a similar witness to the one we received on December 26, the Feast of the Martyrdom of St. Stephen. But today’s feast presents the same evil in a different and even more tragic light. Here, out of envy and hatred, Herod had countless innocent children killed in an attempt to eliminate Jesus, the newborn King.

We can only imagine the grief that would have filled the town of Bethlehem and its vicinity as the soldiers went through killing those innocent children as their parents watched helplessly. On one hand, it’s shocking to know that God permitted this. On the other hand, on a level of deep faith, we must strive to understand the witness that these innocent children gave.

Though this was an unspeakable crime and evil, from the perspective of eternity, it will be sorted out by God. In Heaven and forevermore, these innocent victims will wear the martyr’s crown and will be honored by the angels and saints as the first witnesses to the newborn King. Though this may not have eased the pain at the time, it will certainly transform the pain those families felt as they enter into the justice of Heaven.

Their witness reveals to us much about our own lives. It reveals that there are many times in life when things are simply not fair and not just. The massacre of these innocent children is a powerful reminder of this fact. But one thing we must hold on to is that God will right every wrong in the end. Today, we celebrate a solemn feast in the honor of these children as a way of saying that God has transformed this tragedy into something glorious.

The same is true with each one of us. Whatever your “tragedy” may be, know that the Son of God entered our world, taking on our fallen human nature, so that He could make all things right.

Reflect, today, upon that which is most painful for you this Christmas season. Whatever it may be, you are invited to unite your hurt and pain today with the sorrow of the families who lost these little ones. Let God do for you what He ultimately did for all of them. Let His Incarnation, death and Resurrection transform your hurt into a crown of martyrdom. In the end, the Lord will be victorious in your life if you let Him.

PRAYER:
Lord, I surrender all hurt, pain and confusion to You. I unite myself, this day, with the sorrow of those who lost these little children and I trust that their lives, as they reign now in Heaven with You, are a sign for me of things to come. Your birth into our world was the greatest sign that You are our Savior and that You can turn all things into good. Jesus, I entrust my life to You and know that You will right every wrong. Jesus, I trust in You.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.