Each year we celebrate this feast of The Holy Innocents, Martyrs during the Christmas season. The tragic death of so many young innocents at the hands of a crazed, controlling ruler, seems misplaced in the midst of the joy of the Incarnation. In reflecting on this, I am wondering if it is not a reminder that life holds both the tragic and the glorious, the yin and yang, the darkness and the light. In the passage we read today from 1 Jn, we are reminded:
‘God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.’
Surely as people of faith, we live in hope that during the good times as well as the rough ones, we can see the light of Christ shine through the darkness. During the Season of Advent we spent time preparing for the birth of Jesus, that light in the darkness to permeate our world and give us peace. Our days of preparation included making time to pray vespers together each evening, collecting food and gifts to be given to the less fortunate and spending time with family and friends at community, family and spiritual events.
Our family faith formation group of parents and children met to make cards for the homebound, the teens and adults gathered on a Saturday morning to deliver food baskets to people in need and many faithful adults made more of an effort to attend candlelight vespers each evening. The light of Christ was evident in the faces of the poor and hungry as they accepted much needed food baskets and caring messages.
We are indeed a blessed people! We pray today for all the innocents past and present, young and old who continue to suffer in darkness, that they may feel the warmth of God’s light and love as we celebrate the miracle of Love born in a stable in Bethlehem so long ago.
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.