Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pro-life Homily

"For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet…"

This coming Friday, I plan to travel to Washington DC with students from Fenwick and Badin high schools.  About half a million people will visit Washington to witness and speak out that the killing of the unborn is an outrageous and heinous crime.  It is unacceptable that it happens in the first place, and it is unacceptable that we are forced to pay for the killing of the unborn with our tax dollars and insurance premiums.  This will be the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court cases that legalized abortion for all 50 states during all 9 months of pregnancy.  40 years, 55 million deaths.  It’s time to end this thing.

Here’s an example of how intellectually dishonest our government is in regard to the unborn:  I was probably conceived sometime in late 1972.  And it would have been illegal to kill me.  The Roe v. Wade decision came in January of 1973, now making it legal to kill me.  But then after I took the 8-inch ride through the birth canal, it became illegal to kill me once again.  After birth, I was once again protected by law.  Same person, same crime.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law went to the March for Life.  He is adopted, and lucky to be alive.  He could just as easily have been another statistic among the millions who have been killed in legalized abortion since 1973.  When he was putting in for the time off work, a guy at work said to him:  “I didn’t know you were an activist.”  Perhaps this is why there is so much more to be done if we are going to save the lives of the unborn.  Many of us are afraid of being labeled “activists.”  At the judgment on the last day, when Jesus asks me why I didn’t stand up for the most innocent, will it be enough to say:  "Well, I was afraid of being labeled an activist”?  If a nation kills its own children, how long before it be called forsaken or desolate like in the first reading?  It is the government’s job in this country to serve the public, not to kill the public.  How can the Lord make our land his spouse, and rejoice in our land, when we allow the killing of the most innocent?

In our second reading, St. Paul tells us that there are different kinds of spiritual gifts.  We have all been given different gifts.  But all are called to put those gifts to good use complementing each other.  In the same way, we all have gifts we can use in the struggle to establish the right to life for all people, born and unborn.  We could assist the Church's excellent healing ministries for post abortive parents.  We must always promote these when we discuss abortion.  There are millions of women out there who are hurting and in need of healing.  They need to know that the Church offers many confidential healing ministries to help them.  Some of us can be activists. Some can be counselors.  Some can write letters.  Some can make phone calls.  Some can lobby congress.  Some can donate resources.  Some can make sacrifices.  And all of us can pray.

In the Gospel we hear the Blessed Mother tell the servers at the wedding feast in Cana:  “Do whatever he tells you.”  That’s good advice.  What is Jesus telling us?  How do we hear him tell us what to do?  Jesus speaks to us through the Sacred Scriptures, sometimes through prayer when we have a well-formed conscience, and he speaks to us through his Church.  The bishops of this country are united in saving the unborn.  Christ is speaking with their voice.  He is calling us to action through them. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vocation Awareness Week

Several truths should be pointed out.  Perhaps these truths should be more obvious than they are.  The Christian believer probably holds these truths but sometimes forgets.
First, we all have a common, or universal, call to holiness.  This is the primary vocation of all Christians.  We are all called to return to our Creator.  It's no secret that we will all die.  And then what?  Eternal life is the goal.  The believer acknowledges that a life of holiness is necessary for attaining the ultimate goal of eternal life.
Secondly, the Church recognizes four paths we can take to attain this goal.  There are four "roads" we can take as we live the universal call to holiness.  Some are less traveled than others, but all four are counter cultural in our own time.  Even Christian marriage is counter cultural in our hedonistic society, not to mention the vocations of holy orders, religious life and the chaste single life.
Since all four vocations are counter cultural and difficult, we need God's help. 
In his wisdom, the Archbishop of Cincinnati has asked all parishes to pray a prayer for vocations.  In the prayer the Archbishop composed, we beg God to make four areas fruitful ground for vocations: our Archdiocese, parishes, homes, and hearts.  It is pretty easy to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life from the Archdiocese and parishes.  In our laziness, we think that priest and religious come from somewhere else.  It takes much more trust in God to pray for these vocations from the home and heart.  Parents want grandchildren--and that's a good thing.  But sometimes we give up one good thing for another good thing.  Plus, it's no secret that families are getting smaller and smaller.
Several years ago a certain parish formed a vocations committee and composed a prayer for vocations.  It would have been a great prayer except for one flaw.  In the prayer, the people asked God something like: "Send into your Church men and women who will answer the call to priesthood and religious life."  These people are already in the Church.  These vocations just need to be fostered.  Of course there are exceptions to this such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was outside the Catholic Church and later became Catholic and did a saint's work.
Other truths, that are not so obvious, should also be kept in mind, not only this week but always.  All vocations are gifts from God, and God does not give any lousy gifts.  God knows what is best for us better than we do.  God loves us better that we love ourselves.  This is difficult for parents who love their children fully.  God loves them more.  He is able to love perfectly. 
Finally, most Christians are called to the vocation of marriage. But let's not lose sight of the fact that some are not.  Some of the greatest saints had parents who tried to dissuade them from religious life: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas.  Let's not be those forgotten souls who tried to stifle God's plan.