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The Holy Innocents

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December 28 Saint of the Day

December 28 Saint of the Day

Podcast © Franciscan Media
Based on an account in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, King Herod slaughtered a number of male babies in an attempt to rid himself of the perceived threat of a usurper of his throne. What he didn’t realize is that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world─a fact that emerges later in Saint Matthew’s Gospel.

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LITURGY OF THE HOURS - 2ND READING

They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ

From a sermon by St. Quodvultdeus , bishop
A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.
Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.
You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children.
The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation.
But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.
How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

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Little Martyrs for Christ

During the octave of Christmas, there are many special feasts that the Church gives us to celebrate! One of them, December 28, is the feast of the Holy Innocents. This day commemorates the baby boys who were murdered by an order of King Herod.

After the Magi did not return to King Herod, he was furious! He was still afraid that the newborn King of the Jews would pose a threat to his power. King Herod ordered his soldiers to kill every baby boy ages three and younger. He wanted to make sure that the baby king was killed and would not threaten his power.

These babies bear witness to Christ through the giving of their lives even though their sacrifice was not a conscious one because they were so small. They are considered the very first martyrs – even before Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the early Church. These martyrs died not only for Christ, but in place of Christ.

Saint Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod was going to kill Jesus, so Mary, Joseph, and Jesus escaped to Egypt and Jesus was not killed.

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SOURCE: My Catholic Kids

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COVENTRY CAROL Lully LULLAY words lyrics text trending CHRISTMAS sing along song lullaby

The "Coventry Carol" is a traditional English Christmas carol dating back to the 16th century. As befits the name the carol was performed in Coventry, a city in the West Midlands of England, as part of a mystery play - The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The carol directly refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, where King Herod of Judea, decreed that all boys under 2 in the town of Bethlehem were to be killed, to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews. The Coventry Carol is sung as a lullaby by mothers of the unfortunate boys.

Coventry Carol

Lullay, Thou little tiny Child, By, by, lully, lullay. Lullay, Thou little tiny Child. By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters, too, how may we do, For to preserve this day; This poor Youngling for whom we sing, By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod the King, in his raging, Charged he hath this day; His men of might, in his own sight, All children young, to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child, for Thee, And ever morn and day; For Thy parting, neither say nor sing, By, by, lully, lullay.

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