Christmas Reflection: Feast of the Holy Innocents

In the first reading, St. John is reminding us that Jesus wants us to walk in the light with Him to have fellowship with one another. He is also telling us to be honest and humble, and that by recognizing our human brokenness, we will allow God’s saving grace to purify us and bring us close to Him.

But what do these words mean for our daily lives? We spend so much time analyzing the social and economic systems for the injustices in our society, and so little time looking at ourselves and what comes out of our hearts that can cause these problems. I think that if we want to change the world, we first must open ourselves to receive His grace.

The Gospel tells us the story of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod’s massacre of Holy Innocents. We see similar evil events happening today to millions of refugees that are escaping wars, hunger, and many forms of persecution. We also see the massacre of millions of babies through abortion. We can easily lose faith and hope in mankind, and we may even blame God for all the craziness that we humans have caused.

But again, only three days ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Let’s think about it: God, who is all-powerful, the creator of all, humbled himself and became one of us, a human being. He experienced everything that we experience and then more. He was a refugee, homeless, poor, and suffered hunger and thirst. He was insulted, ridiculed, and murdered on a cross. He knows what we are going through and is telling us to repent, change, and have faith in Him; He has conquered death and defeated evil. Hence, here is our answer: by following His example of humility and self-giving, and by believing in Him, He will change us and therefore the world will be changed. Only with Him and in Him, we will experience joy and have eternal life.

Roberto Parterrieu is Executive Director of Catholic Charities of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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