(The following is adapted from Archbishop Gomez’s homily for the annual Requiem Mass for the Unborn, held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Jan. 19.)
We are praying tonight for the unborn.
This word reminds us that life begins long before we ever see it. The Bible tells us that every human life begins with the desire of God. Before he forms us in the womb, he knows who we are. He knows who he wants us to be. Even before we are born, God has plans for us.
Every abortion is a personal tragedy — for the child, for the mother and father, for the family.
But every abortion is also a divine tragedy, a sadness deep in the heart of God because it blocks God’s plan for a child he loves, for a soul he wants to be born.
And we need to remember that every abortion is also a social tragedy, and we all bear some responsibility because, after all these years, we still have not built a society that cherishes children or truly supports parents and families.
Our Gospel reading tonight tells the beautiful story of our Lord Jesus Christ’s first miracle, at the wedding feast at Cana. In this story, we see how important these things are to God — marriage, family, and children.
In the mystery of God’s divine plan for creation, he chose to enter our human reality as a child in a mother’s womb. He chose to be raised in a home with a mother and father. And Jesus chose to perform his first miracle at a family wedding, where he probably knew the bride and groom.
But this miracle was not only for them. By this sign, Jesus wanted to bless and sanctify married love — that special love of husband and wife that brings new life into the world.
Jesus came to share our life in order to reveal the beauty and holiness of human life. Not in the abstract. God does not love “human nature.” God’s love is passionate and personal. He loves each one of us with the same love that a husband has for his bride.
God rejoices in every man, woman, and child, born and not yet born.
God loves all of us without conditions and without exceptions — young and old, weak and strong, no matter the color of our skin, or where we came from. God loves those who are easy to take care of. And he loves those whose lives are a burden.
God has entrusted his great plan of love to his Church. And in this requiem tonight, God is calling us to see our responsibility through the eyes of our Blessed Mother Mary.
Mary’s heart is open to the needs of those around her. She tells Jesus, “They have no wine.” That is a question for us, a challenge. We need to always be asking: Who are the people around us who “have no wine”?
If we open our hearts and look with Mary’s eyes, we will see people who have no food, no home. We will see people who have no jobs, no rights and no legal status; we will see people with no one to love them, with no one to heal their wounds.
We will see unborn children, thousands every year, who never get the chance to live because they are not wanted or because someone is worried they will be a burden.
In the Gospel, Mary tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Her words are meant for us. Mary has total confidence, total trust in Jesus. And so should we.
Just as he tells the servants in the Gospel, Jesus is telling us: Fill your lives “to the brim” with love.
Jesus gives us a beautiful mission: love and only love. Where you see those who have “no wine” — pour out your love, so people will know God’s love. Work every day to build a new city and a new nation — where every human life is loved and protected, a new society where it is easier to love and to give life.
If we follow him and believe in him, if we do whatever he tells us — Jesus Christ will change the water of our lives into new wine. He will draw out many beautiful things from our hearts. He will make our lives a sign that reveals his glory.
So, tonight we mourn the loss of these little ones. We entrust their souls to God — who loved them from before all ages and who will love them for all eternity.
We pledge ourselves again tonight to serve God’s plan of love, the great cause of life in our time.
Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary for her intercession. May she help us so that everyone might taste the good wine of God’s love and rejoice in his presence.