When God was a refugee

December 28, 2019 – Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

Click here for the readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122819.cfm

Homily

King Herod was hungry for power. When he heard the news that there will be a new-born king, he was threatened. In his hunger for power, he did not want anyone to share in what he enjoyed. In fact, Herod murdered his own children so that no one will take the power and riches from him. Hence, how much more if the one who is to reign is a baby? Herod was indeed frightened and threatened.

God reveals Himself not to the rich and the powerful, not to politicians and famous personalities of our society, but, to simple and poor people – because the rich and powerful, the famous and the “big shots” do not need God. They believed that they themselves are “gods.” This is the attitude of Herod and the reason why he felt threatened upon hearing the news of the new-born king.

Sadly, because of so much insecurities and the corrupted heart of Herod, he would do whatever he can in order to eliminate that baby who threatened his power, wealth and comfort. What had been sacrificed were the lives of many innocent baby boys. They were murdered right before the eyes of their mothers and fathers. There was no mercy! It was just evil!

Today’s feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of all the innocent people who have died and who are dying because of the cruelty and oppression of others. The Gospel also tells us that Joseph through the instruction of the angel brought baby Jesus and Mary to Egypt. Egypt was a common place for Jewish refugees and people who seek safety. Egypt had become an important place in the life of Jesus as it had become a safe place for him. This tells us, that even God became a refugee because of the people who rejected him.

Thus, there are two invitations that I would like you to remember today. 

First, let us be aware of our insecurities and of our tendency to be threatened by the goodness of others. Being aware of these, allows us to come to the light as the first letter of John tells us. It is by coming closer to God that we also come to light, therefore, making ourselves exposed to God. This will lead us to recognize our own insecurities and tendency to be abusive, corrupt and insecure. 

Second, as Egypt had been a safe haven for Baby Jesus, allow ourselves also to be the “Egypt” for others – that we become a safe haven for people who need help, love, care and protection. This will not be easy as it will be demanding us of our time, presence and resources. However, let us also remember, in some ways, we have taken refuge to others, friends and family members when we needed help. It would also be good to return the goodness that we have received to others.

In this way, we may be able to make Christmas a memorable and holy day. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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