The Holy Innocents and us

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WHAT can the Feast of the Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28, tell us? Offhand, we can immediately say that like them we can live and end our life here on earth in a most tragic way. And that, for reasons that can be considered as most flimsy and most stupid, just like why those little kids were martyred. (cfr. Mt 2,13-18)

We should just be prepared properly for this possibility, avoiding falling into reactions of anger and hatred, or even of exaggerated fear. If we are guided by our Christian faith, we know that whatever tragedy we may experience in this life can be converted into a golden opportunity to attain our sanctification and eventual salvation.

So, let’s just be cool about the whole thing, and keep ourselves always in the charity mode, which is how truth and justice would eventually emerge.

These days we cannot avoid some forms of tragedy in a daily manner. Cases of misunderstanding, rash judgments, harassments, etc. are increasing. Even among what may be considered as very educated and religious people, these cases are rampant.

In fact, they are most prone to act like the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, quick to judge others and to wage a subtle campaign of persecution against those who do not agree with them.

The figure of Pope Francis, for one, has become a source of contention among different parties, especially on the issues of the Pachamama, synodality, the Fiducia supplicans, and many others. Instead of trying to understand things better, listening well to the views of each party involved, there’s a strong tendency by some know-it-all guys to be unbending on their own biases and prejudices.

It’s as if it would be the end of the world if some people do not agree with them. Claims are made quite openly that the anti-Christ has arrived, and so every move this presumed anti-Christ makes is always put under suspicion. They present themselves has having the exclusive possession of all the truth about things.

And so, since this condition is unavoidable and is, in fact, more pronounced these days, we should just learn how to suffer some form of martyrdom everyday. It may be worthwhile to go through some verses in the first letter of St. Peter that describe to us how the Christian attitude should be toward suffering, especially a suffering that would appear to us as unjust.

These verses from St. Peter’s first letter spell out for us how to be so. They are in the second chapter, and they go as follows (19-25):

“For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin. No guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but he trusted him who judges justly.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”