It is 28th December 2018. We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. The entrance antiphon proclaims: The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord. The readings are from 1 John 1:5-2:2; and the Gospel from Matthew 2:13-18. To be afraid is normal but to live in fear all the time is abnormal and sickly. An adult to be afraid of an innocent child is totally absurd. We have a 70 years old Herod who was afraid of a new born child Jesus. He is the very person who was scared of losing his kingship murdered his own mother, wife and two children. Because of his irrational fear and unacceptable power-mongering sacrificed the innocent children below the age of two. His target was Jesus, the new born king of love, peace and joy. Right after the Christmas day on, we are celebrating who gave life or wished to give life for Jesus. There are three types of martyrs. Those who wish to be killed for Jesus like St. Stephen; those who wish to die for Jesus but not able like St. John; and those who never wished to die for Jesus yet murdered for the sake of Jesus like the Holy innocents whose feast we celebrate today. The Holy Innocents who died for Christ having no crime or sin of their own. They were massacred by a king who felt insecure and willing to sacrifice the innocents to hold on to his chair. When the world pleasures dominate and control us, we do the most unjust and unethical human acts. We lose our innocence by growing up. Our holiness solely depends on the innocence of our souls. Unless we recover and reclaim our innocence, we cannot be holy. In the first reading, St. John teaches us to live a life like that of children of light that is do the right thing always. We need to be bold to acknowledge our sinfulness and letting God to penetrate the areas that needed healing. There is always a room for conversion and cleaning of our lives with the Lord. The darkness and shadows of the sinful world is presenting itself so attractive way. We need to avoid sin, sinful situations and those who lead us to sin. We need to examine that whether we have a tendency to get rid of people who threaten our position and power either in religious life, or in social and political life. Most of us use the prudence as the tool to deal with people to slash them off when they were not prepared. Some of us so cunningly and maliciously plan things and execute it with the religious blanket and playing the innocence of heart to keep our power and influence on the others for our convenience and comfort. Unless and until we confess and prioritize Jesus in our lives, our innocents cannot be holy and pure for Christ otherwise it would be selfish and sinful to serve our secretive mandate. The responsorial Psalm prays, “Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.” (Ps.124:7). The Gospel recounts the massacre of the innocent boys in Bethlehem. “Behold those redeemed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb, and who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” (Rev.14:4). Without knowing, these innocents gave their lives for Christ. We are invited to reflect the way we treat the innocent persons in our lives. Are we using and abusing the innocent ones for our pleasure and to keep our status and power? Our love for power, position and influence in the society could cost us to sacrifice the innocent ones. We need to protect the innocents by all means by fighting against the forces of darkness and evil in us and around us. May we recognise the New Born Babe of Bethlehem to be merciful to us when we have taken the divinity of Christ for granted. May you have a good day. God bless you.

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