Today we remember the first holy martyrs of the Church; those children or holy innocents Herod had killed in Bethlehem. Herod’s not so different from Pharaoh in the book Exodus. Both men had power and authority over their kingdom and lot of wealth. When God’s plans interfered with their plans rather than humble themselves and do as the Magi did, who visited the Lord and gave praise and honor to God, they felt threatened and gave into sin & death.
Pharaoh had all the males born to the Hebrews thrown into the Nile, and Herod had male children age 2 and under killed in Bethlehem. One thing we learn is that temptations, especially ones based on irrational fears, try to convince us that we’ll gain something by giving in, but in reality it takes everything away from us – and separates us from the one who gives us everything. We see a strange turn of events in the story of Herod. He thought he would secure his kingdom and his title as King by slaughtering the infants. Eventually he died, and it’s the very ones who were murdered, the infants who gained the true kingdom of heaven & whose blood bears witness to Christ.
We too called bear witness Christ by our lives. The stories of Pharaoh & Herod show us that there will be persecution and struggles along the way, but if we remain faithful to Christ and with His help resist our daily temptations then we’ll have everything because we’ll have the Lord. Today we ask the holy innocents to pray for us, that we may always be kept innocent from serious sin so that one day like them we may inherit the true kingdom of heaven.
In the Gospel Jesus is teaching the apostles what to do and not do in regards to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For prayer he says do not do it for show, but in secret… “when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” If we take this literally it doesn’t need much translation. It means go into your room, shut the door, and pray to God where no one can see you. But there is a deeper meaning as well. Many saints and other spiritual writers often talk about the heart.
According to the Catechism: “The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. It is the place of decision, the place of truth where we choose life or death.” It is in the heart that we encounter God.
This is something that we can do throughout our day. Go into your room and shut the door, meaning go into this deepest part of yourself, the heart, where you can encounter God in the silence and be with Him. Shut the door of your senses to all the various distractions that draw your attention away from Him. This can be as easy as spending a few minutes with Him throughout the day, and if we spend time with Him in secret, He will reward us by drawing us closer to Him.
‘’Talk with God, no breath is lost. Walk with God, no strength is lost. Wait for God, no time is lost. Trust in God, you will never be lost.’’
The great test of life is to see whether we will obey God’s commands in the storms.It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage.
‘’Heart of Jesus, whose fullness we have received, thank You for Your great goodness to us today. Forgive our sins. May angels and saints praise You.’’
‘’The Bible is filled with people like you and me who had issues, but used them for His glory. Don’t let anyone make you feel you’re not worthy of being used.’’
‘’Be patient. God hears your prayers. God’s timing. Not yours.’’ Stay safe and healthy.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, having stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
‘’Lately I’ve been so worried about things that are out of my control. Help me to trust that You are working every little detail of my life.’’
"There isn't enough room in your mind for both worry and faith. You must decide which one will live there." Stay well and safe!
"Cast all your cares, anxieties, worries, and concerns, once and for all on God, He cares for you with deepest affection, watches over you very carefully."
Shrine of St Faustina of The Divine Mercy
P.O. Box 343288 Memphis Tn 38184
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