Pop quiz! Who was the first saint?
- a) St. Joseph
- b) St. John the Baptist
- c) St. Michael the Archangel
- d) St. Stephen the Martyr
- e) The Holy Innocents
Okay, I know it's Christmas Break and you weren't prepared, so I'll be merciful. No need to call the Cardinal to complain and ask for a redo. I'll accept any of your answers. For one could make a theological and historical argument for each of the above.
But, if we had to choose, (and the answer I usually tell the students in school), I would say: e) The Holy Innocents.
We celebrated the Feast of the Holy Innocents this past week on December 28. If you are not familiar with the Holy Innocents, these are the children in Bethlehem who were murdered by King Herod as a result of Jesus' birth. "When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi (Matt 2:16)."
Herod was no stranger to murder. When he became king, he murdered fifty of the leading figures in Judea, including members of the Sanhedrin, to ensure his reign. He murdered his father-in-law, King Hyrcanus, and his mother-in-law, Alexandria. He then murdered his first wife, Mariamne, and three of his sons. His crowning achievement was the murder of the 50-60 children in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. Fine fellow this 'King' Herod was.
Think about these first martyrs. The Holy Innocents died for Jesus. These children died to save God. Author Frank Sheed writes, "The parents and their children were the only ones who ever agonized in order to save God's life."
I can't help but reflect on these poor children and their parents (imagine how they suffered!) on the Feast of the Holy Family, which we celebrate today. This is a beautiful, tender feast: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—a loving mother, father, and son. It couldn't have been possible, though, without the Holy Innocents.
Perhaps we can think about all those who made sacrifices so that our families could exist. Then, through the intercession of the Holy Innocents, let us say a prayer of thanksgiving for them.
I want to thank everyone who made Christmas a wonderful celebration. Many behind-the-scenes hours went into many things. Mr. Glenn De Castro, our music director, and his choirs and cantors worked very hard and made our liturgies beautiful. Thank you to the sacristans, ushers, altar servers, altar decorators, and Scouts who put up the creche outside, and many others. God bless you!
A reminder that January 1st is not just New Year's Day, but the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. This is a holy day of obligation in our church. We will have a vigil Mass on Monday, December 31st at 5pm. Masses on Tuesday morning will be 7:30am, 9:30am, and 11am. We hope you can join us to celebrate the Blessed Mother.
This Friday, January 4th we will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel from 9am until 5:45pm. Please stop in to spend some quiet time in prayer with the Lord.
I pray that you are enjoying these remaining days of 2018. If your family is traveling for the school break, then please be safe. If you are leaving for an extended period of time to warmer climates, like Fr. Roger, enjoy your sojourn! Please let the parish know if there is anything we can do for you while you are away. May you all have a blessed 2019!
Yours in Christ,