We continue with our Christmas Octave and today, we celebrate the Holy Innocents. These are the babies that were murdered on the order of Herod because of his insecurity about his throne. While this is not recorded in any secular documents, this does not mean it did not happen. For one, Herod was notorious for being cruel that such an act was probably normal for him and did not deserve any note from any historian.
We see the spirit that drove Herod to this madness is seen in today’s society, where people kill babies and the elderly because they pose a threat to their independence. Societies fall when children and the weak are sacrificed at the altar of convenience. Yet, there is hope because the First Reading tells us, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Many people suffer because of what they did in the past or what they were forced to do in the past. They regret this and often, they turn into a downward spiral of guilt, shame and despair. The regret of having killed an innocent child is too much to bear. Yet, this is precisely why Jesus became man. The First Reading continues: If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only by also for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus wants us to give him our past, to allow him to enter our past, so he can heal it and remove the guilt, the shame and despair. There is redemption for our sins when we admit what we did and turn to Jesus for healing. Christmas shows, God is on our side. He will never abandon us. The Psalm clearly says: if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when our enemies attacked us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us. For those mourning over some traumatic event that happened in their lives, God is with you. That guilt, shame and despair is your enemy. It wants you to wallow in that hopeless condition. But God wants to set you free from this hopeless situation. He wants to set you free and the coming of Jesus proves this. You just need to allow him into your past so he can heal you and set you onwards to a future of freedom, of hope, of power and life!
Lord Jesus, I come to you in my guilt, in my shame and my despair. Forgive me for what I had done. And if what happened to me was not my fault, I forgive the person who had done me harm. I want to be set free of this life I have, of the burden that I carry today. I come to you as you commanded those who are burdened, to come to you. Here I am. Heal my past, and I release those who have done me harm from the justice I demand, because I know, vengeance is yours. Set me free Lord and give me new life.