Feast Day: Dec 28
What Is the Feast of Holy Innocents?
The Feast of the Holy Innocents, also known as the Feast of the Holy Children or the Feast of the Child Martyrs is a day where we commemorate the children as mentioned in Matthew 2:16-18 who where martyred in the place of Jesus.
The Background – King Herod’s Massacre
At the time King Herod who was a cruel and fearful ruler was only intent on securing his power and would kill anyone that he was afraid would seize power from his throne (including several members of his family that he grew paranoid that they were plotting against him). When word of the three wise men who were searching for the newly-born Jesus reached the ears of Herod, he immediately grew fearful – especially when they called him the “king of the Jews” and where coming to worship him.
At first he pretended to also want to pay homage to Jesus, and called on them to help him find the child. But in fact he was really plotting to get rid of the child for fear that he would threaten his reign. God warned the wise men in a dream, and they assisted in helping Jesus to evade Herod’s plot.
When Herod found out about this, he was enraged and ordered the death of every child in Bethlehem below the age of two.
Bible Verse – Matthew 2:16-18
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.”
The Feast of Holy Innocents
This feast day is a solemn reflection on the innocent lives lost in one man’s pursuit of power and jealously. It is an important reminder to us of the need to protect and value the lives of children who are often defenseless and meek in the world. We are also reminded to guard our beloved children and to watch out for those that would seek to protect their own interests at the cost of others.
As children of God, this feast day is a powerful reminder of the need for us to stand up for what is right, even in the face of great adversity. Although Herod’s actions where evil, the advisors, soldiers and people in Bethlehem were also complicit in allowing the immoral act to be carried out. For none stood up against Him for fear of their own well-being.
Today we are called to contribute in whatever way we can – through charity, prayer or simple contributions that we may build a better & more compassion world for our children. A world that also shelters the most vulnerable among us.