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Monday, October 23, 2017
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December 28: The Holy Innocents

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him. Some say they were kings, others astrologers. They went to Herod, the king, seeking the newborn king of the Jews, the Savior. Herod was a cruel, clever tyrant. When he heard these Wise Men speak of a newborn king, he began to worry about losing his throne. But he did not let the Wise Men know what he was thinking. He called in his chief priests and asked them where the Bible says the Messiah was to be born. They answered: Bethlehem.

"Go and find out about this child," the wicked king said to the Wise Men. "When you have found out where he is, come and tell me. Then I, too, will go and worship him." The Wise Men went on their way. They found Jesus the Messiah, with Mary and Joseph. They adored him and offered their gifts. Meanwhile, they were warned in their sleep not to go back to Herod. And an angel came to tell St. Joseph to take Mary and Baby Jesus into Egypt. In this way, God spoiled the murderous plans of Herod concerning the Divine Child.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men had not come back to him, he became furious. He was an evil, violent man, and now the fear of losing his throne made him worse. He sent his soldiers to kill all the boy babies of Bethlehem in the hope of killing the Messiah, too. The soldiers carried out the bloody order. There was great sorrow in the little town of Bethlehem, as mothers wept over their murdered babies. These little children are honored today by the Church as martyrs. They are called the Holy Innocents.

Reflection: What does it mean to me to be "innocent"? How can I respond to Jesus' invitation to be childlike?