Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui celestia simul et terrena moderaris, supplicationes populi tui clementer exaudi: et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus. Per Dominum nostrum...
Almighty ever-living God, who govern all things, both in Heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace on our times. Through our Lord...
Given this plea for the divine gift of peace, and the proximity to the awful anniversary of the repugnant Roe v. Wade decision this Thursday (1/22), I chose to preach on the obvious topic. The Epistle is Rom 12:6-16, and I expounded on the verse, "Let your love be without pretense. Hate the evil, adhere to the good." The Gospel is Jn 2:1-11, the wedding at Cana, and I preached the verses, "Do whatever He tells you," and "His disciples believed in Him." Here's my homily, as closely as I can reconstruct it.
All across the country, this weekend and this week, in different places, hundreds of thousands of
|March for Life 2014|
I'm sure I don't have to recount for you the terrible evil that abortion is. I'm sure we know that abortion kills an innocent human being, a baby in the womb; and that it destroys the spiritual and emotional health of mothers and fathers, of entire families; and that it corrupts our culture and our laws, and justifies other kinds of evils, too. Abortion is the most urgent, the gravest evil of our times, and it falls to us, to our generations, to fight it.
Our readings today give us inspiration and courage to carry out this moral struggle.
St. Paul tells us, "Let your love be without pretense. Hate the evil, and adhere to the good." For us, this means that we must root out from our hearts the pretenses, the compromises, the little evils and sins that we sometimes indulge in. We must make regular examination of conscience, and go to Confession often, so that our hearts will be full of pure love. If our love is true and pure in the little things, the daily things, then we can also love without pretense in the larger things. This is very important, because the world wants to paint us as hypocrites. We need to be able to show that our love and our actions are consistent, so that our witness can reveal the love of Christ.
|Orthodox icon of the wedding at Cana|
And in our married life, we are called to a holy, loving union that is both chaste and fruitful. What this means for us, then, is that we must reject contraception in our Catholic marriages. Contraception leads to abortion, through what we can call the "contraceptive lifestyle." Pope Paul VI showed us this link in his encyclical, "Humanae Vitae." When we contracept, we reject the will of God in our marital union. Whether we understand this or not, we are making ourselves the masters of life and creation. It's only a small step, then, to try to make ourselves the masters of death, also, to set ourselves up in the place of God, choosing who can live and who will die.
Those who work for the culture of death know this link, too. For example, make people who have left working for Planned Parenthood report that they want to have access to public schools, to teach our teenagers (and even younger children) to use contraception, because they know that contraception will lead to abortion, and they want that business.
We need to challenge this root of abortion, and make our Catholic marriages once again free of contraception.
And the last verse of the Gospel today: "His disciples believed in Him." We need to pray for an end
|St. John at the foot of the Cross (14th c., St. Michael and All Angels Parish, Wales)|
The daily witness we give to the power of His mercy, like the many March for Life events, is the way to change minds and hearts about the evils in the world. Our hope and our joy in Jesus Christ are not just for ourselves, they are for others. We can only share as much of that mercy, hope, faith, and joy as we are open to receive from our Savior. But as we grow closer to the Lord, our hearts are more open, and we can receive more and offer more to those around us.
If we are faithful in these ways, we will make a difference. We will overcome the evil of abortion, by the power of Christ's love. Our progress may be slow, because the evil is great, but we will advance. We have this hope. We have this faith. So let Christ work in us, ever more deeply, so that our witness may be stronger, to overcome evil in the world.