As I write this, I am praying and reflecting and getting ready to celebrate our annual Requiem Mass for the Unborn.
Every year, near the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, we gather to remember the victims of abortion. This year, our Requiem will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, Jan. 19, at our Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. We will also be live-streaming the Mass through my Facebook page.
I hope you will be able to join us to pray for all the little ones whose lives have been lost and ask God for the grace to keep proclaiming his Gospel of Life.
Promoting a culture of life is one of the five priorities for our Archdiocese that I set out in my pastoral letter, “Witness to the New World of Faith.”
As Catholics we have been entrusted with the good news of Jesus Christ — that the human person is sacred and created in God’s image.
But we live in a society that has accepted legalized abortion for 40 years and is now moving more and more to the acceptance of euthanasia. This is the challenge we face — as a Church and as individuals.
Life is beautiful and life is from God! This is the most basic message we proclaim.
We have just come out of Christmas Time. And Christmas is when we can see the Gospel of life so clearly, so beautifully. We see that God loved us so much that he became a little child for us — so that we could find him easier to love.
We see that God wants to share and sanctify our lives. So he comes into the world as we do — as a child, with a mother and a father. So he grows up in a human family and learns to know friendship and love; joy, sorrow and suffering.
He does all this to show us that in his eyes, every human life is precious and every life is for a reason. God calls each of us by name, as a Father calls his beloved children. All those children who die by abortion — they have a name that only our Father knows. They are precious in his eyes.
We have been in this struggle for life in our society for a long time. We need to keep at it. And we need to deepen our efforts at every level, beginning in our own personal commitment to the Church’s teaching on life.
We need to proclaim in everything we do that life is beautiful; that children are a gift of God. We need to celebrate marriage and the family as cradles of life and schools of love and hope. We need to continue our efforts to reach out to women in need.
We also need to continue to resist the “anti-life” and “anti-family” movements and tendencies in our society. We need to remind our neighbors that the right to life is the foundation of every other right and liberty in our society — and the only foundation of true justice and peace.
If the child in the womb has no right to live, then no one does. If the child in the womb has no human dignity, then no one does.
Imagine the witness our Catholic Church could make in our society if every one of us truly lived the Church’s social teachings in all their fullness. Imagine if every one of us were involved in the struggle to proclaim the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human being — from the child in the womb, to the immigrant and the prisoner, to the hungry and the homeless and the sick and terminally ill.
This is what it means to love as Jesus loved, which was the new commandment that he gave us.
In Jesus Christ, the love of neighbor and the love of God become one. This is the foundation of the Church’s teachings on life.
The Jesus who comes to us in the Eucharist is the Christ who comes to us always in his most distressing guise — in the poor, the stranger, the immigrant, the prisoner, the terminally ill and the unborn. The One who says, “This is my Body,” also tells us, “As you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.”
So we prove our love for God by our love for those God has created and put into our lives — especially those who are hard to love or a burden to love.
So let’s keep one another in prayer this week.
And let’s ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to love as her Son loved and to proclaim his Gospel of Life with our lives.