Clergy Notes — The Holy Family, December 31, 2023

This past Thursday, we observed the Feast of the Holy Innocents – those children whom Herod slaughtered in his quest to eliminate the newborn King of Israel. We are reminded that these never had a chance to choose for themselves whether to be martyred, nor even to understand the cause for which they were being robbed of their lives. Some of them, very likely, were too young even to make it to their naming-day. It is a moving observance no matter what is happening in the contemporary world, but it was particularly moving this year, with the daily knowledge of children and innocents being massacred in a war that they too did not choose.

There are no words or platitudes, nor spiritual meanings, that can redeem such terrible acts. What the Feast of the Holy Innocents does offer us, however, is an assurance that – even when humankind is at its worst: eliminating precious lives as casualties of war; little lives that may never even have been given the dignity of a name, let alone a long enough life to make choices – even when humanity has stooped to this level, those little lives are not forgotten by God. Their names are known to their Creator, even if they were never known by humans. They are held in the highest honour and held tightly to the breast of the Divine Mother who knit them together in the human womb that birthed them.

For Christ, too, is an innocent murdered at the hands of humankind. And it is Christ’s body and blood which knit us together as one family. So it is our own duty as Christ’s body on earth, to be the love of Christ in the world – not only to those whom we call innocents, but also to those whom we would rather despise for their actions. We cannot let violence or apathy win; in all the little and big ways we can, we must continue to be the light of love in a world that is so increasingly full of heartbreak and suffering.

For the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it.

Mother Amanda

Download the Liturgy at Home booklet for Sunday, December 31, 2023.