December 28, 2020 – Feast of the Holy Innocents
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122820.cfm)
God looking for a refuge? Can you imagine that? Yes. This happened. Joseph had to bring Mary and the baby Jesus out of danger and find refuge, to find a safe haven for them. The cruelty and the violence around threatened the life of the baby Jesus. Such violence came from those who were in power and those who were rich.
Herod was very threatened of the presence of the new-born King. He was in fact became very insecure that someone will take the throne, the power and his wealth from him. This revealed how King Herod was hungry for power that he became restless. Yet, this is not the first time Herod was like this. History tells us that Herod even murdered his own children so that no one will take what he enjoyed in his life. This insecurity in him had consumed him that he wanted to eliminate those whom he thought were threats to him.
Herod must have thought that he himself was a “god.” For this reason, he felt so entitled that he was most willing to murder innocent people to get what he wanted. In his desire to have power, he ordered the murder of innocent baby boys in his attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. Hundreds of children were murdered right in front of their mothers and fathers and their families. It was merciless. It was evil.
On this feast of the Holy Innocents, it reminds us that this kind of killings did not just stop there. This continued until today. Evil still persists until today. People were murdered in broad-daylight. Killed in front of people. Desecrated. This is evil. Evil persists when we allow it, when we allow our hearts to remain indifferent and violent.
That is why, God has to find refuge. Yet, God runs towards us too, to find refuge in us. 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.
Today, there are two invitation for us. First, let us be aware of our tendency to be violent, to be corrupt and to be insecure. Let not those darkness in us consume our hearts. They only bring us to death and misery. As the first Letter of John tells, let us come to the light. Let us come to God because he is our light and in him there is no darkness at all but peace and freedom. Thus, seek forgiveness and seek for reconciliation. This will allow us to live in freedom, to live in peace and to live in joy.
Second, Egypt was a safe haven for the Baby Jesus, for Joseph and Mary, allow ourselves to become the “Egypt for others.” Let our kindness and generosity, our gentleness and hospitality give comfort to those who are troubled today. Let people find care and attention, love and understanding in us, in our families and in our communities. Allow ourselves too, our families and communities to become a safe place for the weak and the vulnerable. Protect and nurture life. Defend life and stand against those who want to kill life. Though this will not be easy but demanding, make this as our expression of gratitude to the Lord who gave all to us.
In these ways, we may able to truly celebrate this Season of Christmas with joy and peace. Hinaut pa.