The Holy Innocents

28 December 2021
'Massacre of the Innocents' by Valerio Castello. Image: Wikimedia Commons


Feast of The Holy Innocents

Readings: 1 John 1:5–2:2; Psalm 123(124):2–5, 7–8; Matthew 2:13–18

28 December 2021


“Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt.” – Matthew 2:13

When Herod’s soldiers moved through Bethlehem to carry out his diabolical instruction, the scene must have been chaotic. Confusion. Shouts. Screams. “Wait! What are you doing? Why are you doing this?” At some point, the night would have become still. The work was done. The only thing left: the hushed cries of parents, broken hearted and afraid.

This scene should haunt us, and yet in most cases, these few sentences in the Bible simply pass us by like yet another news report—more bad news? That’s what the world is like! Just as Joseph’s hands would have been hard and calloused from the rough work of a carpenter, our hearts, too, can become hard because of cynicism or grief alike. Better to be numb than to feel the pain of the whole world, right? I can’t make a difference, can I? What could God possibly be asking of me?

“Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt.” In other words, do something! You won’t know who “the child and his mother” will be until they are standing before you. Perhaps it is someone struggling to put food on the table, or a young woman who believes her only option is abortion, or a man contemplating taking his own life. The “child and his mother” are in our families, workplaces, and schools. If we listen closely enough, we will hear their cries.

Lord Jesus, may what breaks your heart break my heart too and lead me to action. Amen.

Peter Gilmore

Peter Gilmore has a background in youth and young adult ministry and currently works as a CCD and evangelisation coordinator for the Office of Renewal and Evangelisation, Diocese of Wollongong. He has recently completed his studies in theology and currently supports parishes utilising the Divine Renovation and Alpha resources. He has a passion for making Church teaching and biblical truth accessible to all.

With thanks to the Diocese of Wollongong who have supplied the weekly Advent and Christmas 2021 reflections from their publication, Blessed – Advent & Christmas Daily Reflections 2021.


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