Dec 28 – Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
The Holy Innocents are the children slaughtered by Herod the Great when he tried to kill the infant Christ.
- Patron Saint Index
The children died for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourned for the death of martyrs. The Christ child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to Himself.
To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.
- From a sermon by bishop St. Quodvultdeus about the Holy Innocents
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.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
I’ve been very interested in the science behind our dreams. They occur very regularly, even though we may not always remember them when we awake. Serving to help solve problems in our lives, incorporating memories, and processing of our emotions, dreams provide us with a glimpse of what our subconscious mind is grappling with at the present moment.
In today’s Gospel, Joseph’s response to the dream saved his son’s life. He discerned that the dream was a tangible manifestation of God, and acted upon it swiftly. However, most dreams are seldom as clear. In fact, my dreams tend to be very lucid and oftentimes nonsensical. Yet, there are recurring themes and images that provoke much introspection. I have found that dreams bring to the surface our deepest desires and nudge us towards resolving them.
In recent months, I have kept a dreams journal where I record my dreams and pen some reflections on what they could mean. This has helped me crystallise my thoughts and informed a number of major decisions that I had to take. It has also shone the spotlight on areas of my life that I had been neglecting or choosing to ignore. If we strive towards Christian living in our work and personal lives, why not broaden that intent to our non-waking lives as well?
Wishing all of you sweet and meaningful dreams, and many nights of restful sleep.
(Today’s Oxygen by Anonymous)
Prayer: Abba Father, open our hearts, minds, and ears to your call. As we deepen our relationship with you, draw us closer and keep us on the straight and narrow path.
Thanksgiving: We thank you, Father, for the many ways that you reach out to us. Thank you for always being present, even though we may overlook you sometimes.