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Liturgical day: December 28th: Holy Innocents, martyrs

Gospel text (Mt 2,13-18): After the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, «Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you for Herod will soon be looking for the child in order to kill him». Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. In this way, what the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled: «I called my son out of Egypt».

When Herod found out that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old or under. This was done in line with what he had learned from the wise men about the time when the star appeared. In this way, what the prophet Jeremiah had said was fulfilled: «A cry is heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation: Rachel weeps for her children. She refuses to be comforted, for they are no more».

«Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt»

Fr. Joan Pere PULIDO i Gutiérrez
(Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs. Embedded within the Christmas celebrations, we cannot ignore the message the liturgy wants to convey to us to define with two clear accents, and even more, the good news of the birth of Jesus. In the first place, St. Joseph's predisposition in God's design for our salvation, by accepting God's will. And, at the same time, the evil, the injustice we often find in our life, determined in this case by the martyrdom of those innocent infants. All this requires a personal and social attitude and response.

St. Joseph offers us a very clear and responsive testimony to God's call. We can, thus, identify ourselves with him when we are to take decisions, from our own faith, in difficult moments of our life: «Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt» (Mt 2:14).

Our faith in God entails our own life. It wakes us up, that is, makes us fully alert to those things happening around us, because —quite often— it is where God speaks to us. He makes us take the child and his mother, i.e., God becomes closer, our travel companion, and He strengthens our faith, hope and charity. And He makes us leave at night for Egypt, i.e. He invites us not to be afraid of our own life, which, more often than not, is full of shadows too difficult to illuminate.

Today, those infants martyrs also have specific names in other infants, youngsters, old people, immigrants, ailing persons... requesting the response of our charity. So, John Paul II, tells us: «Many are, indeed, in our time the needs questioning our Christian sensibility. It is time for a new idea of charity that can be displayed not only in the efficiency of the help provided, but in our capacity to become closer and more supportive with those suffering».

Let us hope that God Infant's clear and strong new light fills up our lives and reaffirm our faith, our hope and our charity.