“No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence.”
Pope Francis spoke those words about a year ago. He was speaking of something that we, as Catholics, believe quite deeply, that every human being is sacred, created in the image and likeness of God, and has a God given right to life.
This Friday will be 48th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand in our country. The statistics since then are staggering – with well over 53 million abortions since that time. While the number of annual abortions has actually declined in recent years for a number of reasons, the lives of nearly a million unborn babies are ended this way in our country each year. Add to that the fact that so many other lives are shattered by violence, hunger, and neglect and it is clear that we have much work to do.
Because of this, Friday is a special Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children in our country. Everyone is asked to say a special prayer that day. It is also a Day of Penance in our country, to atone for sins committed against the dignity of human life. Giving up a food you like that day, attending Daily Mass that morning, or doing some act of charity, perhaps for a place that helps mothers and children, such as Catholic Charities or Life Choices, are all good things to do that day. So is sending a message to our congressional representatives about the sacredness of human life.
The annual March for Life is scheduled for next Friday, January 29th. Fr. Gilbert is planning on attending the March in Washington, DC with a modest group of people from our parish. Prudence dictates that we have a smaller group than usual on that bus, and that’s what we will do. God willing, they will join people from around the country to tell all the world that we believe in the dignity of human life. Pope Francis put it best, as he often does, saying: “every human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.”
The Holy Father certainly knows of what he speaks in this regard. While Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he regularly visited and celebrated Mass in some of the poorest slums in the world. He is well aware that some people live very difficult lives, but still believes their lives are precious, sacred, and deserving of our respect and help. The pope also practices what he preaches, not only advocating for the poor and unborn, but also inviting homeless people to lunch at the Vatican, visiting the imprisoned, and taking every opportunity to show his respect for the life of every human being.
I want to thank the many people of our parish who find concrete ways to follow the Holy Father’s example. The way you fill the Blessing Box with food for the local poor is absolutely inspiring. So are the efforts of those who have kept our Soup Kitchen running through this whole pandemic. Finally, those who participate in things like 40 Hours for Life and pray near abortion clinics do a great deal to show that we truly value every person that God has chosen to create.
I truly believe that our country would be a more peaceful place if more people truly respected God’s gift of human life. People who believe in the dignity of other people don’t hurt those people. They don’t destroy their property. They don’t visit violence upon them or their neighborhoods.
Rather, they find ways to treat them with respect and dignity, even when they disagree with them. They strive to live in peace. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying things, but respecting the God given dignity of every human person can only help treat people as did Jesus Christ.
Remember that next Sunday is the recently established Sunday of the Word of God. Everyone is invited to bring Bibles to Holy Mass to have them blessed. If you don’t have a Bible – just call our Parish Office and we will be glad to give you one. We always keep some on hand.
Please say a Hail Mary for me today and every day. I make a point of praying for all of you. It is a pleasure to be your parish priest, and I appreciate all the help that so many of you give me, especially by means of your prayers.
Have a great week!