NO 'DECREE OF DEATH' SHALL PROSPER. Prayer Reflection for the Feast of Holy Innocent Martyrs

In the Bible, two similar stories (one in the Old Testament and the other in the new testament) tell us how out of jealousy and selfish interests a 'decree of death' was passed to exterminate infant boys of the Israelites by Pharaoh and Herod respectively. Some may argue and claim they are old stories lacking historical proofs and relegate them as things that cannot happen today because of advancement in human culture and society. But I want to tell you reasoning like this is not only wrong but could be misleading. On the contrary, historical events have proven, and today the covid-19 pandemic and the various conspiracy theories following it have revealed that men and women could pass 'decrees of death' physically or spiritually for various ungodly and selfish reasons. If you are still in doubt read slowly...

Exodus 1:8-9,22
There came to power in Egypt a new king who knew nothing of Joseph. ‘Look,’ he said to his subjects ‘these people, the sons of Israel, have become so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. We must be prudent and take steps against their increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might add to the number of our enemies. They might take arms against us and so escape out of the country'...The king of Egypt then spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah, and the other Puah. ‘When you midwives attend Hebrew women,’ he said ‘watch the two stones carefully. If it is a boy, kill him; if a girl, let her live.’ Pharaoh then gave his subjects this command: ‘Throw all the boys born to the Hebrews into the river, but let all the girls live.’

That was a decree of death in the Old Testament. See another in the New Testament:

c.f Matthew 2:13-18
Herod was furious when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men.
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
1. Child of God, the evil one is never tired but goes about seeking whom to devour, always working against the plan of God to bless and redeem us. In the first case, the devil's plan was to prevent the birth and mission of Moses who would lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land of freedom. In that case, Moses becomes a prefiguration of Jesus Christ whom the devil also tried to stop using Herod since Jesus is the promised Messiah leading the new Israel-the people of God out of bondage to sin and death into freedom and life. The innocent lives lost to these evil machinations are not just victims but martyrs for Christ since they died because of him. Even though they cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.
2. Today there are countless 'decrees of death' both physical and spiritual existing as promulgated laws, as bills waiting to be passed into law, like conspiracy to exterminate certain ethnic groups or races, as medical procedures and therapy, as religious views to convert others by force, and as ethical norms or culture, all for some selfish reasons or hatred. Any idea thought, or act that does not respect life and the right of others to live, that deliberately alters the nature of things as God made it for some selfish ends is a decree of death. Hence abortion and euthanasia are medical decrees of death, self-mutilation is a cultural decree of death, LGBT-Q is a social decree of death, murder is a decree of death, terrorism is a decree of death, religious intolerance is a decree of death, racism and discrimination is a socio-cultural decree of death, the Covid-19 is a decree of death for economic reasons. 
3. Child of God, as we draw to the close of this year, we renew our faith and trust in God once more, committing our lives into his protective care and believing his Words that those who trust in him are like Mount Zion that cannot be shaken, but stand forever (Ps. 125:1). We also believe that all machinations of the evil one shall amount to nothing as the Word of God says in Ps. 20:8: that their forces will collapse and be crushed but we shall rise and stand firm. We pray therefore that all decrees of death (spiritual and physical) projected or planned will amount to nothing in Jesus' name. Amen.
As the Bible says in Ps. 33:10 that The Lord frustrates the designs of the nations and thwarts the plans of the peoples, I pray for you that our God who frustrates the plans the devil manifesting as Pharoah and Herod shall frustrate anyone, any government, any idea, any thought, any action rallied against you in Jesus name. Amen.

TASK: Pray Psalm 124 now and if you harbor any evil thought against anyone, get rid of it. Get rid of every 'decree of death' that you may not become another instrument like Pharaoh and Herod whom the evil one used to actualize his plans.

© Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ 

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