A great king is born as a little child! The wise men come from afar to worship and pay homage to him. Even though lying in a manger, he reigns over heaven and earth. Christmas celebrates the joyful and extraordinary event of the Son of God being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, coming to live among us, becoming like us in all things except sin. The Christmas story reveals the humility of the Son of God who has become human for the sake of us humans.
During the Christmas season, we celebrate several other feasts. Among them is the feast of the Holy Innocents. These newly-born babes, not yet able to utter a word, yet speak aloud to us as we celebrate their feast today. They witness to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, not through their words, but more eloquently, through their blood!
The Wise men coming from the East announce to King Herod that they are on their way to find the new born King and to worship Him. Herod, who thirsts for power, feels threatened, and already determines to eliminate the One whom he considers his rival.
The martyrdom of children marks the very beginning of Christ’s life, life given up, in order that all may have life, life in abundance. All children of two years or under won the crown of martyrdom, shedding their blood for Christ. What a wonderful gift of grace. They are not yet able to express in words their faith in Christ, yet are privileged to become confessors of Christ and carry the palm of victory!
Children are a treasure that God gives our families, our nation and our world. Unfortunately, today they are exposed to abuse through the selfish motives of adults who use them for their pleasure, for child labour, as means of getting money by selling their organs, etc.
We as followers of Jesus are invited to give voice to the voiceless. We are called to follow the same path that he walked. He was sinless but endured much suffering. We too, may have to endure insults and be exiles in this world. Jesus reminds us that there is no glory without the cross.
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. If you belong to the world, the world would love you as its own but you are not of the world. I chose you out of the world and the world therefore hates you’’ (Jn 15:18-19). The word of God gives us courage and strength to give light to the world through our life and mission.
As we celebrate the Christmas season, we also face situations of poverty, war and political crises in many parts of the world. May the feast of the Holy Innocents give all of us the grace to let our life speak more eloquently than our words!
Sr. Sagaya Mary David, Contemplative
Nagoda, Sri Lanka