January 22, 2014
(Mar 10:13-14) And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
POPE FRANCIS: "It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day. Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary."
NEWS: Roe v. Wade anniversary brings together Catholics in remembrance and protest
PROFILE: Cardinal Dolan on the Civil Rights of the Unborn
EXCERPT HOMILY: The Lord says to us in Sacred Scripture, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5); from all eternity God knew and loved each of us in a unique and personal way. It’s important not only that we discover our own identity as His children, but that we help others achieve this all-important goal as well—for this sort of self-discovery truly can be life-changing, and even life-saving. The National Right to Life Committee tells a story about a woman on her way to an abortion clinic for the second time. At her first appointment there, the abortion counselor told her it would be a very simple, insignificant procedure—merely the removal of a mass of cells. Nothing was said about how the unborn child within her already a heartbeat, tiny yet recognizably-human features, and a unique genetic code and identity. A date was scheduled for the abortion, but as the woman was returning to the clinic a few days later, she saw a bumper sticker that had been created by the National Right to Life Committee; it proclaimed a simple but powerful truth: “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.” The woman was stunned, and her eyes and her heart were opened—she wasn’t carrying a “mass of cells,” but a baby. She turned around and went home, and as a result her soul, and her baby’s life, were saved.
For more than forty years, the Right to Life Movement has proclaimed the unique identity and value of each human life—echoing the unchanging teaching of the Church, dating some 2000 years, back to Jesus Christ Himself. Abortion is not only a tragedy, but also a grave abomination in the eyes of God—one which every true follower of Jesus is morally bound to oppose. Our society today rightly rejects and denounces racism, thanks in large part to the peaceful and heroic witness and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of his nieces, Dr. Alveda King, once said, “For many years I have been an outspoken advocate for the unborn child, because in a culture of abortion, the child is like a slave. The new civil rights movement of our time is the pro-life movement.” Can you imagine a so-called Christian back in the 1960s dying after having supported racism and segregation and violence against blacks, and having to defend his or her actions while being judged by God? It’s just as morally impossible today for any Christian to promote or defend abortion—though God’s mercy is always lavishly available to any woman guilty of such a sin, if only she repents of it. You and I are called to be witnesses of this mercy—for Jesus does not want anyone to condemn him or herself as a sinner; rather, everyone is called and invited to recognize him or herself as a redeemed sinner.
The political and moral issue of abortion is like a mirror being held up to the soul of every American—and what we see there goes a long way toward revealing whether or not we’re accepting and living up to our true identity as children of God, and whether or not we are indeed journeying toward His Kingdom of Heaven and our true home. A fearsome struggle for the soul of our country is underway, and the Lord does not allow us to sit it out, run for the sidelines, or declare our neutrality. By means of our involvement, financial contributions, influence, votes, and prayers, Jesus expects us to stand up and be counted in defense of His gift of human life—for in today’s world, this is an inescapable and vitally-important way of identifying ourselves as His disciples. On Judgment Day, nothing will matter more than this; only those who here and now discover, accept, and live out their identity as God’s children will be entitled to share in His Kingdom.
MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[James 1:1-8; Mark 10:11-16]
With what love the Lord treated children! Who doesn't treat them with love? The longer one lives, the more one loves children. In them is seen freshness of life, cleanness and purity of disposition, which cannot but be loved. Looking at the innocence of childhood, some suppose that there is no original sin, that each person falls himself when he comes of age and meets with immoral urges, which, it seems to him, he does not have the strength to overcome. Everyone falls himself, yet the original sin nevertheless is present.
Apostle Paul sees in us the law of sin, warring against the law of the mind. This law, like a seed, at first is as if not visible, but then is revealed and entices. Those who are born of lepers do not manifest leprosy until a certain age, but then it is revealed, and begins to consume them just as it did their parents. Where was the leprosy before this time? It was hiding within. So does the original sin hide until the time, and then comes out and does its business.
Environment means a lot for both suppressing this sin and revealing it. If there were no sinful elements all around, there would be nothing with which to feed this hidden sin, and perhaps it would dry up of its own. But herein is our sorrow: that all around there is very much favourable food for it. There is much sin in every person as well as in society; but all of this does not necessarily determine that we will sin. Sin is always a matter of freedom — struggle and you will not fall. Only he who does not want to struggle falls. Why do we not want to struggle? There are no regulations concerning desire and lack of desire: I want to, because I want to; and I don't want to, because I don't want to. Self-rule is the original principle — one cannot go beyond it.
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