Thursday, December 28, 2023
Holy Innocents, Martyrs—Feast
Fourth Day of the Octave of Christmas
When the magi 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.” Matthew 2:13
The most glorious event ever to take place in our world also filled some with hatred and rage. Herod, who was jealous of his own earthly power, felt greatly threatened by the message shared with him by the Magi. And when the Magi failed to return to Herod to tell him where the Newborn King was located, Herod did the unthinkable. He ordered the slaughter of every boy, two years old and younger, who was in Bethlehem and its vicinity.
Such an act is hard to comprehend. How could the soldiers carry out such an evil plot? Imagine the deep mourning and devastation so many families encountered as a result. How could a civil ruler murder so many innocent children.
Of course, in our day and age, so many civil leaders continue to support the barbaric practice of permitting the slaughter of the innocent within the womb. Thus, in many ways, Herod’s action is not that different from today.
The passage above reveals to us the will of the Father regarding not only the protection of His divine Son but also His divine will for the protection and sanctity of all human life. It was satan who inspired Herod to kill those precious and innocent children so long ago, and it is satan who continues to promote a culture of death and destruction today. What should our response be? We, like Saint Joseph, must see it as our solemn duty to protect the most innocent and vulnerable with unwavering determination. Though this newborn Child was God, and though the Father in Heaven could have protected His Son with a myriad of angels, it was the Father’s will that a man, Saint Joseph, protect His Son. For that reason, we should also hear the Father calling each and every one of us to do all we can to protect the innocent and most vulnerable, especially the child within the womb.
Reflect, today, upon the will of God for your life. In what ways is God calling you to be like Saint Joseph and protect the most innocent and most vulnerable? How are you being called to be a guardian of those entrusted to your care? Certainly on a civil level we must all work to protect the lives of those who are unborn. But every parent, grandparent and all those entrusted with responsibility for another must strive to protect those in their care in countless other ways. We must diligently work to preserve them from the evils in our world and the numerous attacks of the evil one on their lives. Ponder this question today and allow the Lord to speak to you of your duty to imitate the great protector, Saint Joseph.
Lord, give me insight, wisdom and strength so that I can work in accord with Your will to protect the most innocent from the evils of this world. May I never cower in the face of evil, and may I always fulfill my duty to protect those entrusted to my care. Saint Joseph, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Holy Innocents, Martyrs