Friday, December 28, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 28, 2012
Friday – Year of Faith
Feast of the Holy Innocents – Martyrs
by  Rev. Fr. Rufino Jun Sescon (Chaplain, Sto. Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel)
7:15AM Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 1 Jn 1:5-2:2

Beloved: This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, "We have fellowship with him," while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, "We are without sin," we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 124:2-3, 4-5, 7cd-8

R. (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Had not the LORD been with us?
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept the raging waters.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare.

Gospel Mt 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

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. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.


Good morning my dear brothers and sisters.

You know, clinical psychologists say that Herod was a schizophrenic. And schizophrenics have a Christmas carol. Do you know the Christmas carol of schizophrenics? It is "Do you hear what I hear?" (laughs) Because they would hear something else, which, for us, is not very clear.

But kidding aside, that was really Herod. He heard so many things, and most of them pointed to his insecurities. He was so insecure; he was the king but he was always afraid that somebody else would grab his power. He was afraid somebody else would supersede him. He felt so insecure and that is why he had his wife, his mother, his grandmother, his two sons, among so many, killed. And that is why it is not safe to be a relative of Herod, because he could really just kill any time. Imagine having his family killed because he thought that they tried to overthrow him.

And Herod felt that the people really - and perhaps it is true - did not love him. That is why on his last will, he even stipulated there that on his death, on his burial, the leading men of Israel will be executed. Why? So that during his burial, some people would really weep. See how crazy he was. To ensure that some people will cry during his burial, he stipulated that the nobles of Israel should be executed. Of course, nobody implemented that will. After all, he was already dead. And that is why nobody wept when he died.

There you see how evil corrupts people, and how evil affects the innocent ones. Yes, do you hear what I hear?

My brothers and sisters, that is very true. When we keep on hearing so many things, unfounded things, and try to entertain them, the innocent ones suffer. How many times have we allowed those things to enter our ears and our minds?

Of course, some of us anticipate that on Holy Innocents, pag-uusapan diyan ang abortion, birth control. Yes, but for this morning, I just want to emphasize the living innocent ones who suffer because of our unfounded insecurities and anxieties, like Herod. How many people have suffered because of our fears and angers that have no basis at all? Kung minsan, nakikinig lang tayo sa chismis o di magagandang bali-balita na minsan hindi naman po totoo. Tandaan po natin si Herod. Kaya ho maraming nagdusa, marami siyang pinapatay, kasi kung anu-ano lang ang naririnig niya eh hindi naman po totoo, pero pinapatulan.
As the year is about to end, let us ask the Lord for pardon for the times the innocent ones in our life suffered because of us. And I am not just talking about individuals. Even on a national scale, sometimes we have unfounded fears. And because of that, the innocent ones suffer. Because of man's greed. Because of man's ambition. Because of man's clinging to power, the innocent ones suffer.

Let it be a collective preparation in this mass. We ask the Lord that the leaders of our nations, our communities, and even the leaders of our Church, that God may not allow the voices of insecurity, the voices of greed, the voices of lust for power, to corrupt their minds and make the innocent ones suffer.

Please remember that for every sin - this is also good catechism - every sin has a social dimension. Every sin, for that matter. Even your most personal and private sin will always have a social dimension. And more often that not, it is the innocent ones who suffer because we sin. Please remember that.

We ask the Lord for pardon for letting the innocent ones suffer because of us. As we continue with this mass, we pray for those unborn who did not have the opportunity to see the light of day. As we pray for the innocent ones who suffer at the altar of economic progress and development, let us also remember the living ones, who, right now, until this very moment, are suffering innocently because of us.

We ask the Lord, just like St. Joseph. St. Joseph also heard something. Katulad ni St. Joseph, sana po ang marinig natin ay 'yong tama, 'yong mabuti, 'yong maganda, 'yong maka-Diyos. 'Yong maghahatid sa atin papalapit sa liwanag ng Diyos. Let us pray for one another, that this 2013, as we look forward to this New Year, if there will be voices deep in our hearts, it will be the voice of conscience, the voice of God, the voice that will lead us to real peace, real love, real blessing. Amen. 

Holy Innocents – Pray for us

A Holy Life

The Holy Innocents

Martyrs at the time of the Nativity of Our Lord (†1 A.D.)

Momorial – December 28

The wily king Herod, who was reigning in Judea at the time of the birth of Our Saviour, learned from three Wise Men from the East that they had come to Jerusalem, advised by a star in the heavens, in search of the newborn King of the Jews. Herod’s superstitious fear of losing his throne was awakened, and he grew troubled. He called together the chief priests, questioned them, and learned from them that the awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He said to the strangers: “When you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may go and adore Him.”

The star which had guided the Magi re-appeared over Bethlehem, and they found the Infant and adored Him, and offered Him their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, recognizing by these His perfect Divinity, His royalty, and His prophesied sufferings. God warned them in a dream afterwards not to go back to Herod, and they returned to their lands, rejoicing, by a different route. Saint Joseph, too, was warned during his sleep by an Angel to take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt, for Herod will seek the life of the Infant.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men would not return, he was furious, and in his rage ordered that every male child in Bethlehem and its vicinity, of the age of two years or less, be slain. These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Saviour’s legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

Reflection: That the Holy Innocents may be invoked to be preserved from illusion is the Church’s belief. Herod’s illusion of threat from the newborn King cost their lives... How few, perhaps, of these innocent little ones, if they had lived, would have escaped the dangers of the world! From what snares, what sins, what miseries were they preserved! Surely they rejoice now in their fate. We often lament, as misfortunes, many accidents which in the designs of Heaven are the greatest mercies.

Sources for this article were taken from:



We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy Innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

O Holy Innocents – Pray for us