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Feast of the Holy Innocents


The Holy Innocents bore witness to you not by speaking but by dying.

Lest we get to caught up in the sentimentality of a baby borne in a manger, the Church, in Her great wisdom, gives us two feasts to ponder immediately after Christmas:  the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr for the faith, and the feast of the Holy Innocents, the babies slaughtered by Herod's men as he seeks to kill off the rival he thought he had in Christ.

Christ's birth is a joy and a wonder, but we are to be careful not to make it into a syrupy, greeting card moment depicting a lovely poor family overcoming great odds to bring a baby into the world.  This baby is not any baby:  He's God, and He's come for a reason.  And the reason is to bring souls, at great cost, to God.  Christ says in Matthew:  "My mission is to spread, not peace, but division."  The division is God's side, and everything else, between which lies a great chasm.

The two feasts of St. Stephen and the Holy Innocents are meant to help us decide which side of that great chasm we stand upon.  May we all choose Christ.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.