It will be good, next year, (28 December 2012) when we (Augsburg Lutheran Church, Shawnee, Kansas) will be actually celebrating this most holy and solemn Feast Day with a Mass at our parish. But, until then, I commend for your daily devotions (hopefully a Matins and Vespers) the following:
TLH # 273 Sweet Flowerets of the Martyr Band
Psalm 9 (Matins)
Psalm 124 (Vespers)
Saint Matthew 2. 13-18
Revelation 14. 1-5
O God, Whose martyred innocents showed forth Thy praise not by speaking but by dying, mortify all vices within us that our lives may in deed confess Thy faith which our tongue uttereth; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Jesus and His church, all of His saints, including the most helpless and defenseless, fight against all evil by reposing in Jesus Himself. We win simply and solely because Jesus won - - And Christ's victory was not with the sword (notwithstanding Peter's misplaced martial sins) but with obedience, compliance, and a suffering sacrificial death. The death of the Holy Innocents, those Bethlehem boys aged two-years and younger, bespeak and hearken to our Lord's own death some three decades later.
Were all the baby boys "saved?" Were they all Christians? These questions are impious and scandalous, and should not be asked or debated by those who believe, teach, and confess Sola Gratia, the Church Catholic, the Mercy of the Lord, the typological nature of Old Testament Circumcision, and the Blessed Doctrine of Election.
The martyred boys are our fellow Saints. Their story, their blood, is included in the Gospel of the Apostle Matthew because they are our brothers in Jesus. Their blood points to His. Their inability to save themselves points to not only our own inability, but to the Work and Person of Christ Jesus. Jesus too, is saved from Herod, not by power, might, retaliation, pre-emptive attack, or largeness, but by the Word. The Word given to Saint Joseph the Guardian of our Lord, the Word which he and the Blessed Virgin believed. This was the same word spoken of by the prophet Jeremias and the other Hebrew Old Testament saints and prophets. The young Christ Child simply reclined on the bosom of His Virgin Mother and trusted in His Father Who art in heaven. We too, recline at table with our own Virgin Mother, the Faithful Church every Mass Day, and pray "Our Father Who art in heaven..." and then we join the Christ at the Table of Mercy and Eternity... with all of those baby boys: the Holy Innocents.
Father Watson SSP
- THE FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS: MARTYRS