One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

December 28, 2006

For the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28

Matthew 2:13-18

Herod’s motive was to eliminate all competition for his throne.
His victims— boys two years of age or younger— did not know what was happening.
The Church celebrates them as martyrs, not because they made a choice for Christ.
Rather, Herod made the choice to slaughter them because of Christ.
Although they themselves did not make the choice, they died in the name of Christ.
They died in the place of Christ.
Christ made a choice.
He who was innocent chose to die in the name and in the place of sinners— us.
You and I are no longer innocent two year olds.
We cannot begrudge the babies of Bethlehem the right to be honored for the sake of Christ in whose name Herod slaughtered them.
Jesus himself said:
whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine,
you did for me.

… what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.

On another occasion:
Jesus called a child over,
placed it in the midst of his disciples, and said,
“Amen, I say to you….
… whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

In her official prayers for today’s feast, the Church has a chant that celebrates the heavenly lot of the babies whose deaths pointed forward to the death of Christ who was their brother by place and time of birth.
The chant for the Holy Innocents sings to them as fellow worshippers in heaven.
Hail, blossoms of the Martyrs, who
Had scarcely seen the light,
When cruel tyrant cut you off,
As storms fresh roses blight.

First victims of the newborn Christ,
Young flock, with crowns and palms,
You play before his altar throne,
And chant your joyous psalms.

As the Holy Innocents in heaven celebrate Christ their King and ours, may they pray for us who— unlike them— have achieved a long list of years and of sins!

That God Be Glorified in All


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