28 Dec – Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs
The children slaughtered by Herod the Great when he tried to kill the infant Christ.
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” – Matthew 2:16-18
– The 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.
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.
If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves
Lately I’ve been seeing a hypnotherapist regarding some personal issues. When I shared the benefits of the therapy with a close friend, she said to me, “Oh, i don’t have to go. There’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t need any fixing.” In truth, we’re all broken in some way or other, because none of us have had perfect childhoods, and really, life is tough and its hurts leave us all scarred. Those who say that there’s nothing wrong with them usually fail to realise that it is because there’s something so wounded and vulnerable inside them that they have built up a shiny, hard armour to protect their brokenness.
In today’s first reading, John writes about such people who say that they have no sin in them. The truth is that everyone has sin in them simply because we’re not perfect. Those who say that they have no sin simply aren’t accepting the truth and prefer to deceive themselves. But it is this very type of people who will find it extremely hard to obtain forgiveness for their sin. After all, why would they seek forgiveness if they think they have no sin? Likewise, a person who thinks they are perfect and nothing wrong with them, will not seek help to fix what is broken within them. This brokenness that we all have within us, that’s sin.
Now what would happen to such a person who is broken inside but thinks there is no need for ‘fixing’? Inevitably, this brokenness will start to affect us and our relationships with other people in adverse ways. I’ve seen it happen to myself, which led me to undergo this therapy now, but I’m not going to share about it here. Instead, I’m going to share with you about Herod’s brokenness.
Herod’s brokenness, his sin, was insecurity. He fiercely guarded his throne and when he heard the wise men talk about the Savior, he immediately saw it as a threat to his throne and power. If he had been less insecure he might have thought differently. Second, he tried to manipulate the wise men into revealing the baby’s location. Third, when that failed, he committed mass infanticide.
While I doubt any of us reading this is going to go to such extremes, we can see a trend if we leave our brokenness unhealed. It will first affect us personally, causing us to have unhealthy perspectives of other people or situations. Second, because of this, it will change the way we interact with other people. If this goes on, we will go on to commit acts which we would have previously thought unthinkable. And we’ll somehow be able to justify it to ourselves that we were right or had reason to do so.
Sin is destructive; it destroys our ability to see the truth, and it destroys our relationships with others. To deal with our sin, it is imperative that we first acknowledge this brokenness of ours. Next we need to acknowledge that we need help removing this brokenness. Help is available for those who seek it, but I’ll admit it’s not easy to find it. I had carried my issues with me for so long that I had all but given up hope on getting ‘fixed’. But I’ll be the first to say that it is God’s grace that led me to finding this help just at the right time and place.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for those whose life are being turned upside down because of their unhealed sin, may they have the grace to acknowledge their own brokenness and seek God and those able to help.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for giving us the humility to acknowledge our brokenness.