Daily Archives: December 27, 2007

Friday, December 28 – Slaughter of the Innocents

28 Dec – Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs; Fourth Day in the Octave of Christmas

The feast of the Holy Innocents is held in memorial for the children slaughtered by Herod when he tried to kill the infant Christ.

– Patron Saint Index

1 John 1:5 – 2:2

This is what we have heard from Jesus Christ,
and the message that we are announcing to you:
God is light; there is no darkness in him at all.
If we say that we are in union with God
while we are living in darkness,
we are lying because we are not living the truth.
But if we live our lives in the light,
as he is in the light,
we are in union with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin in us,
we are deceiving ourselves
and refusing to admit the truth;
but if we acknowledge our sins,
then God who is faithful and just
will forgive our sins and purify us
from everything that is wrong.
To say that we have never sinned
is to call God a liar
and to show that his word is not in us.
I am writing this, my children,
to stop you sinning;
but if anyone should sin,
we have our advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, who is just;
he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,
and not only ours,
but the whole world’s.


Matthew 2:13-18

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.” So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious when he realised that he had been outwitted by the wise men and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loudly lamenting:
it was Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted
because they were no more.


Do you think Herod was cruel for having all those children two years old or under killed? I am sure that most, if not all, of us would agree that he was a cruel man indeed. If you had been his adviser or had some influence over him at that time, would you have spoken out against him or discouraged him from passing this order to his soldiers? Maybe, or maybe not, depending on the consequences that such a move would have on us, our families, and our careers, is that not so?

Now let me ask another question: do you think it is cruel to kill a child that has not yet been born? If it is cruel to kill a child two years or under, would it not be even more cruel to kill a child that has not yet been born? Yet this is what we are doing to the unborn children in our country. According to a United Nations report, the abortion rate in Singapore in 1996 was 15.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Consider how many women there are in Singapore, and you get a rough idea of how many babies we are killing every year.

That’s right – WE are killing them because we are simply standing by and not doing anything. This is one of the ways in which St. John talks about how we are sinning. We may not be actively involved in the slaughter of innocents taking place in our country today, but most of us are also not actively involved in preventing the slaughter. That makes us guilty of the sin of omission. Our silence makes us accomplices of the murders that are taking place. It makes us no different from the imaginary adviser of Herod’s who failed to speak out against his cruel act.

What can we do then? How can we right the wrong that we have helped take place? The first thing we need to do is to admit that we have sinned, for as St. John says, “If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth.” We need to acknowledge our sins, and ask God for forgiveness, and that He will purify us from everything that is wrong.

Then we need to ask God to open our eyes and show us the evil that is taking place in our nation, and to show us the role in which He wants us to play in defending the innocent. For so long as we remain silent, unborn babies will continue to be sacrificed to preserve the physical and mental health of women, to ‘right’ foetal impairment, for economic or social reasons, or simply on request.

Brothers and sisters, let us stop sinning today!

The U.N. report may be found here:


Dear Lord, we ask You today to help us to acknowledge our sin of omission, particularly in defending the most innocent and defenseless people in our country. We ask you for forgiveness of this terrible sin on our part, and that You might show us the evil that is taking place in our nation. Reveal to us also the path and role which You want us to take to right the wrong that we are doing to the unborn. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Tears we weep for our sins and the loss of lives that is taking place in our land.

Upcoming Readings:
Sat, 29 Dec – 1 John 2:3-11; Luke 2:22-35; Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Sun, 30 Dec – Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

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Thursday, December 27 – Christmas Miracles

27 Dec – Feast of St. John, apostle, evangelist

St. John, also known as the “beloved disciple” of Jesus’ was the son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of St. James the Great, and was called one of the Sons of Thunder. Before becoming Jesus’ disciple, he was already a disciple of St. John the Baptist, and a friend of St. Peter the Apostle. He was called by Jesus during the first year of Christ’s ministry, and travelled everywhere with him. He took part in the Last Supper, and was the only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Saviour in the hour of his Passion, standing at the foot of the cross.

He was made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus, and he took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the Lake of Tiberius, he was the first to recognise him.

During the era of the new Church, he worked in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. During Jesus’ ministry, he tried to block a Samaritan from their group, but Jesus explained the open nature of the new Way, and he worked on that principle to found churches in Asia Minor and baptising converts in Samaria. He was imprisoned with Peter for preaching after Pentecost. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and possibly the Book of Revelation.

– Patron Saint Index

1 John 1:1-4

Something which has existed since the beginning,
that we have heard,
and we have seen with our own eyes;
that we have watched
and touched with our hands:
the Word, who is life –
this is our subject.
That life was made visible:
we saw it and we are giving our testimony,
telling you of the eternal life
which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.
What we have seen and heard
we are telling you
so that you too may be in union with us,
as we are in union with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.


John 20:2-8

On the first day of the week Mary of Magdala came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

My brothers and sisters, a blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones! May the Lord continue to walk with you and hey, DANCE with you too!

Christmas is a time of many things. It is a time of merrymaking, feasting and partying with our friends and family. It is a time of looking back at the previous year and forward to the new year. It is a time when the Gloria is sung again after the Advent period. Most importantly though, it is a time of miracles.

During the Christmas season we remember and celebrate the miraculous birth of Christ by a virgin. As we commemorate His coming among us, we also recognize the reason for which He was born. That reason is to die on the cross to save us from our sins.

As is depicted in today’s Gospel passage, following that death came His triumph and resurrection in which we have a share in. It is apt by the way that we celebrate the feast of St John. He was the only apostle to not be have been martyred and to have lived to old age. That is something miraculous in itself.

My friends and old readers of OXYGEN would know that since 2002, I have experienced personal miracles each Christmas season (to go into detail about each of them would take too much time). So as I was sitting at the pews in my parish waiting for midnight Mass to begin, I wondered what this year’s would be. I gave up speculating as the hour approached but another thought came to mind. It was how nice it would be for my friends and family if I sent them a Christmas blessing via SMS. I sent one after Mass to over 60 of my friends and relatives.

I realized afterwards that I had not done something like this for the past four years (mass SMSes are expensive as I’m sure you’ll agree). I also realized that some of the folks I SMSed were people I hardly contacted. As can be expected, not everyone replied but those who did sounded really joyful. Some even called back to return the greeting. Knowing that I sent them a heartfelt blessing and witnessing their happiness at receiving it filled me with joy likewise. There it was then, my Christmas miracle for 2007.

The crux of the matter is that all of us can experience personal miracles. That is how the Lord reaches out to each of us. He does so individually, in ways that best suit every person. We receive these miracles from Christ as gifts and some gifts are meant to be shared out. A gift of chocolate or wine given to one person can bring him/her joy. How much more can that joy be increased in that person and delivered to others when the gift is shared out among friends and/or family?

It is as John writes in the first reading. We share Christ so as to make our own joy complete. We share so that others, like John in the Gospel, may come “see and believe”. My sisters and brothers, as we continue in this joyous season, let us be the Christmas miracles to others in our lives.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Aloysius Ting)

That all will experience the hope, love, joy and peace of the Lord in this season and always!

Give thanks to the Lord For: Wonders

Upcoming Readings:
Fri, 28 Dec – 1 John 1:5 – 2:2; Matthew 2:13-18; Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Sat, 29 Dec – 1 John 2:3-11; Luke 2:22-35; Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Sun, 30 Dec – Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

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