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Thursday, December 28, 2006

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Holy Innocents

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

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innocent lives count and continue on

"The waters have overwhelmed us." —Psalm 124:4

At this time in December 2004, the destructive tsunami hit Asia, and the whole world was united in prayer for the thousands of victims and the grieving survivors. The Church proclaims this Psalm for today: "The waters have overwhelmed us; the torrent...swept over us; over us...swept the raging waters" (Ps 124:4-5). It is so easy to think that God has turned His back on the victims, but today's psalm shows how deeply He identifies with their suffering. These victims remind us of other victims who suffered innocently (Mt 2:16).

On that day, our Holy Father urged us to pray in "fraternal solicitude" for the victims and the survivors. Think of what oceans of prayer were lifted up for the victims by the magnanimous communion of saints, both on earth and in heaven, so great a cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1).

While we can't understand how so many innocent lives — especially children playfully enjoying the day on a sunny beach — could be taken from us on that fateful day, we have received a definitive sign through today's psalm that the whole communion of saints does pray in solidarity. How awesome it is to realize that we are united at the foot of the same throne of the one, true God with each other, all over the globe and throughout the heavens!

Prayer:  "Father in Heaven, when I hear of innocent lives being taken, please remind me that 'the Holy Innocents died not only for Christ, but in His stead' " (St. Augustine, Sermon 10 on Holiness).

Promise:  "Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth." —Ps 124:7-8

Praise:  The Holy Innocents were but the first of many holy and innocent martyrs who witness to the Holy One.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2006

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