My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Once again this year, we gather to remember and to mourn the lives that have been lost. We offer this Eucharist tonight for all these tiny souls who were killed before they could be born.
We pray tonight for their mothers and fathers, for all those who know the pain of abortion and are caught up in this tragedy.
Every time a child dies in the womb, something of our humanity dies as well. And over these long decades of legalized abortion, we all know we have fallen short of what is expected of us.
Abortion is certainly an atrocity and it should be abolished, it has no place in a civilized society. But we need to admit, all of us, that we have not done enough to build the just society, the beloved community, where abortion would never be thought of.
So, we pray tonight in sorrow and repentance. We ask for the grace and the courage to confront this injustice and to commit ourselves to the hard work of building a society that is worthy of the human person.
Tonight, in these readings we have just heard, God speaks to us of the great mystery, the sanctity and dignity, the beauty of the human person.
The prophet Isaiah says tonight:
Now the Lord has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb. …
I will make you a light to the nations
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
These words, of course, direct our gaze to Jesus Christ, to the Word of God who humbles himself to become our servant, taking human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
My dear brothers and sisters, we serve a God who reveals himself to us as a little baby, a God who wanted to come to us from a human mother, to be born into a human family.
This reveals to us something deep, something profound about the nature of God. But it also tells us something marvelous and beautiful about ourselves, about our lives and our humanity.
Human life is precious to the Creator! His love for us is endless and it begins long before we are even born. Our God is a Father who fashions every soul in every mother’s womb.
We are God’s idea — every one of us! And there is the spark of the divine that is hidden in the purpose of every person.
So when we stand before another person, we see the presence of God, because every person is made in God’s image and likeness.
The prophet says today:
I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord,
and my God is now my strength.
Again, these words point us to Jesus, and in Jesus we see the truth of who we are.
The human person is the glory of God. Because there is a trace of God in even the tiniest person, even in the child who is waiting to be born.
But again, my brothers and sisters, we know these truths, we have known these truths for a long time. But we need to continue to translate this knowledge into action.
The existence of abortion tells us that we still have not created a culture of life, that we still don’t have a society or an economy that values the human person and the family as the essential foundation of society.
It is still so hard for many families to make ends meet, too many people do not have what they need to lead a dignified life. And yes, my brothers and sisters, we all have the responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters.
And I know that many of you are doing heroic and beautiful work to help women, to help mothers and children. Thank you for your compassion, for your love, for the sacrifices you make for this cause of life.
But we need to do more. We need to change this society; we need to change this culture. So tonight, let us ask for the grace to commit ourselves to continue working to protect the unborn life, and to do more to support and strengthen the family.
And yes, our hope is in the name of Lord Jesus Christ!
As we hear in the passage of the Gospel tonight, he is “the Son of God” and “the lamb of God who takes the sin of the world.”
Jesus forms each one of us in the womb and in baptism he calls us to follow him and to be his servants — to be a light to our nation and to build his Kingdom, filling this world with his holiness and love.
This is our mission, my dear brothers and sisters!
God calls us not only to respect human life. God wants us to reverence human life. He wants us to contemplate and celebrate the mystery, the divine presence, his glory in the soul of every person.
We need to make this reverence for life, the foundation of a great movement for human rights and human dignity in our society.
And the way we do that is through our love, through our compassion, through our prayer and our pursuit of holiness in our own lives.
St. Paul tells us tonight in the second reading that we just heard “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So tonight, let us once again call upon his holy name.
Let us ask that his mercy be upon on us, that he give us the strength to follow him in building a culture where every human life is sacred, where we can see the light of God in the eyes of every child.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother intercede for us and for our country, and may she go with us in this great movement for life.
1. Readings (Second Sunday in Ordinary Time): Isa. 49:3, 5-6; Ps. 42; 1 Cor. 1:1-3; John 1:29-34.