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Monday, December 28, 2009

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Holy Innocents

1 John 1:5—2:2
Psalm 124:2-5, 7-8
Matthew 2:13-18

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wholly innocent

"God is light; in Him there is no darkness." —1 John 1:5

"The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light" (Catechism, 530). This darkness still oppresses us today. We live in a culture of death. The innocent die daily, through persecution, wars, chemical and surgical abortions, and in countless other ways. Sins are publicly flaunted. How can we once again hope without cynicism, see with pure eyes, and live as wholly and holy innocent children of God?

Jesus, the "Innocent" One (Heb 7:26), has overcome the darkness (1 Jn 1:5; Jn 16:33). In the beautiful words of the Easter Vigil liturgy Exsultet, Jesus "dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence." In Jesus, we are made new (2 Cor 5:17).

"For in those who are born again, God hates nothing, because 'there is no condemnation, to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death' [Rm 6:4], who do not 'walk according to the flesh' [Rm 8:1], but putting off 'the old man' and putting on the 'new, who is created according to God' [Eph 4:22ff; Col 3:9ff], are made innocent, immaculate, pure, guiltless and beloved sons of God, 'heirs indeed of God, but co-heirs with Christ' [Rm 8:17]" (Council of Trent, DS 1510-1516).

"Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life" (Catechism, 2517). "In everything you do,...prove yourselves innocent and straightforward, children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation" (Phil 2:14-15).

Prayer:  Jesus, help us to be "innocent as doves" (Mt 10:16). May Your innocence shining through us attract others to You.

Promise:  "If we walk in light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of His Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin." —1 Jn 1:7

Praise:  The Holy Innocents, the first victims for Christ, were compared by St. Bede to those martyrs who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rv 7:14).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009

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