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Thursday, December 28, 2017

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Holy Innocents

1 John 1:5—2:2
Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8
Matthew 2:13-18

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recover your innocence

"I am writing this to keep you from sin." —1 John 2:1

Jesus Christ became man to overcome the bondage and death due to sin. In Jesus, we are no longer doomed to be subject to the tyranny of the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 Jn 2:16). Jesus has come to declare the victory of innocence over evil, of the Spirit over the flesh. It seems as if innocence once lost is impossible to be restored. Today's feast of the Holy Innocents celebrates not the massacre of innocent babies by King Herod, but rather the victory of that innocence over perversion and evil.

Today's feast proclaims that there is no freedom as great as the freedom of life in Christ. All those in Jesus are free from sin. Though we may have spent many years chained in sin, we are washed clean in the blood of Jesus. Though we may have long ago lost the innocence of childhood and though our sins be long-entrenched, yet, in Jesus' blood, we are washed white as snow (Is 1:18) and made clean in the holy life of the Lord Jesus.

So we offer Jesus our guilty, sin-stained hearts, and He turns our death into life, our sin into holiness, our slavery to sin into "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rm 8:21). The Exsultet of the Easter Vigil liturgy proclaims this: "The sanctifying power of this night...restores innocence to the fallen."

Rachel, mourning her slain child, thinks her weeping and loss are irreversible (Mt 2:18; Jer 31:15). Yet Jeremiah's prophecy of Rachel wailing concludes with this: "The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward...There is hope for your future, says the Lord" (Jer 31:16, 17). In Jesus, your lost innocence can be restored.

Prayer:  Holy Innocents, teach us to live innocently in Jesus.

Promise:  "We were rescued like a bird from the fowlers' snare; broken was the snare, and we were freed." —Ps 124:7

Praise:  The Holy Innocents witnessed to the Innocent One. They were but the first of many holy and innocent martyrs who witness to the Holy One.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2017

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