Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
One can hardly imagine an evil more heinous than killing innocent children, nor a scene more heart-wrenching than their mothers witnessing and enduring such a violent act. This feast of the Holy Innocents presents us so quickly after the Christmas celebration of light and love, a reminder of the human heart’s darkest potential and its most painful suffering. The feast also reminds us that Christ’s light shines in the darkness; it even shines on those who never heard of Him nor were able to put their faith in Him consciously.
John, in the letter we heard this morning and throughout this Octave of Christmas, tells us, “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” We can side with darkness, and we never lose that capability; it emerges in us in surprising ways if we are willing to admit it. At the same time, God invites us to come into the light through the power of Jesus Christ. “Where sin abounds, there grace abounds all the more” (Romans 5:20).
Reflection by Abbot Benedict Neenan, OSB