In this Octave of Christmas, we are celebrating three feasts involving the shedding of blood. St. Stephen’s feast was on the 26th, the martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury is tomorrow, and today we remember the Holy Innocents.
Unlike Stephen and Thomas, who insisted on living the truth, these children did nothing to warrant martyrdom. As one commentator wrote in Universalis :
“The Holy Innocents can stand, therefore, for the ‘unimportant’ and ‘unnecessary’ pawns, child and adult alike, that permeate the whole of human history. The ones who can be sacrificed for some greater cause because they ‘don’t really matter’; the eggs that were broken to make an omelette…or even broken to make nothing at all.”
This feast reminds us that each living person is important, necessary, and matters. Matthew quotes from Jeremiah,
“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.”
Today let us pray for all those who have suffered, because of the death of a child, the birth of a stillborn baby, the terminal illness of a child, the trauma of miscarriage, the tragedy of abortion or the crime of child sexual abuse and coverup .