December 28, 2023, Thursday in the Octave of Christmas THE HOLY INNOCENTS, MARTYRS

1John 1:5-2:2

Psalm 124

Matthew 2:13-18

He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity… Matthew 2:16

Lord, the joy of Christmas still echoes in our hearts. But today we remember the mass killing of the innocent boys in and around your birthplace. Our hearts are broken for them and their families. You gave King Herod a chance to hear and respond in faith and in the truth when he met with the Magi. He could have chosen worship and praise of the long-awaited child-Messiah.  Instead of saving his soul he gave in to fear and chose darkness over light. He could have reigned in peace in this life and forever in the life to come. The child was not Herod’s enemy. The devil and his own fear were.  Lord, things haven’t changed since then. Today thousands of babies are aborted every day. Millions of children are abused. Hunger, poverty and human trafficking destroy the lives of the innocent. You came among us because of sins like this. Lord, save our nation and our world from this evil. These little ones wear the crown of martyrs around your throne. May your grace, love, mercy, and healing conquer the darkness and fear in our world and in our hearts.  Amen.