My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Again, I want to welcome all of you to our Requiem for the Unborn Mass, and I also want to welcome the ones that are with us through the internet and the radio and Television: EWTN and El Sembrador Ministries.
It’s a wonderful that we gather this evening for this special celebration.
As many of you know, we began the day at Exposition Park for OneLife LA, our annual family festival in praise of human life and human dignity. It was a great day, very inspiring.
And we continue our reflections on human life tonight with this ceremony of remembrance.
In the Gospel tonight we heard these words of prophecy — the same words that we heard in our first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah:
“The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.”
This is a prophecy of hope, of new beginning. It tells us that Jesus is the true light that is coming into the world, and coming into our lives. And where we have Jesus, we always have hope for a new beginning. Where we have Jesus, the future is bright.
And my brother and sisters, I also think that these words tonight are a promise for us, for the people of this land.
Because America, for a long time, has been a land overshadowed by death.
This is a land where the child in the womb has no right to grow or to be born. This is a land where the elderly, the terminally ill and disabled more and more are considered a “waste,” their lives not worthy of medical care.
We are dwelling in darkness, overshadowed by death. And we have been for a long time. Since January 22, 1973, when abortion was legalized. That’s a long time.
And sometimes it seems like the darkness just gets darker, that the darkness is spreading.
Last year, as we know, assisted suicide became legal here in California and this year Colorado voted to legalize the practice. And it is going to be legal soon in the District of Columbia.
And sadly, abortion continues to spread. It seems to be more and more “normalized.” It is now accepted as a part of public “health care,” as another form of contraception. Something our government more and more is paying for.
It is all too sad. Because it only leads to the candles that we will see late tonight in this Requiem celebration — Requiem for the Unborn Mass. One candle lit for every child in our community who never got to be born, who never got to shine his or her light in this world.
But my brothers and sisters, this is not our fate. Darkness does not win in the end. God does not leave us in the gloom of a land of death.
As we heard in the Gospel tonight — Jesus is the great light that rises in the land of darkness, in the shadows of death.
Jesus is the light of the world, the light of every nation. And he is the light of every life. In him, our future is bright. We can overcome the shadows of death in our country.
Jesus gives us his light to show us the way. The light of his truth. The light of his own example, his way of love.
Remember, his words. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” But he also told this to his Church. He said: “You are the light of the world.”2
He was talking to us, my dear brothers and sisters. This is who we are. We are children of light!
Together with Jesus — we are called to spread the light of God in our society. As Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead, we are called to be healers. We are called to reach out to those who are sick, to those who are dying, to those who are scared about their future.
As Jesus did, we are called to proclaim that every life is precious, that every life is loved by God.
And I am happy and proud to say that we are doing that here in the City of the Angels. It is a beautiful thing to witness. We are doing so much to build a culture of life.
Starting with everything that you do your parishes and ministries. There are so many wonderful things happening in every parish in the Archdiocese and in every ministry.
But also in an Archdiocese, we are renewing some of the things that we see that we have to do. This past year we started ByYourSide LA — a wonderful program to support and heal women who have suffered the tragedy — women and men who have suffered the tragedy of abortion. It is a beautiful program. I have to say that, I think, there is nothing like it in the country. And we have prepared and trained many “merciful companions” who can accompany women and help them to come to know God’s forgiveness and love.
We are also working with our parishes to help support the elderly and the dying. Through our Whole Person Care. A beautiful program that we are developing to prepare them that they can live their finals days with true dignity.
And of course, we have OneLifeLA. For me, OneLife LA — as I said earlier this afternoon — is not just one day. It’s a movement, a vision. It’s a vision of a society of solidarity, love and service. A society where every life is welcomed and cared for — because every life is loved by God.
So we are the light of the world. We are called to be. And let us keep moving forward, always forward in the cause of life. Let us keep bringing the light of life, the light of Jesus — to every person and in every corner of our society.
It is a beautiful call. It is in a special time in our personal lives, in the life of the Church when we have the call to really go out, as Pope Francis is asking us to do. To share this beautiful truth of God’s love for every single person, in every moment of our lives. That should make us very excited because it is to be another Christ — Christ himself.
So let’s ask Mary Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to continue to be with us as Our Mother of Mercy. To make us joyful missionaries on the culture of life and love.
1. Readings (3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A): Isa. 8:23-9:3; Ps. 27:1, 4, 13-14; 1 Cor. 1:10-13, 17; Matt. 4:12-17
2. John 9:5; Matt. 5:14–16.