Today the Church acknowledges the extraordinary sacrifice of the witness of the Holy Innocents, those male children two years of age or younger in and around the surrounding countryside near Bethlehem who were murdered by order of Herod the king in the hopes of ensnaring the Christ child. This despicable act, rooted in petty greed and selfishness, is forever remember among the faithful, and these little ones are honored for their witness, unconsciously given and yet no less powerful than a spoken proclamation. The Collect prayer today said:
"O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed
and proclaimed on this day,
not by speaking but by dying,
grant, we pray,
that the faith in you which we confess with our lips
may also speak through our manner of life."
Our lackluster witness, our reserved response to God's call, our shying away from the attacks on religious life, our easy acceptance of the status quo are an embarrassment when compared to the sacrifice and witness of these Holy Innocents and countless others who have laid all on the line for Christ. These little ones, not "angels" but rather true Saints in heaven, should remind us of what is at stake and embolden us to do all that we can for the sake of the gospel message of Christ.