January 23, 2022
January 22nd is the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout our nation. Today’s Gospel is a call to proclaim good news for the poor and oppressed. How can we be instruments of God’s love and truth and mercy in this issue that has affected all of us?
- Each year all dioceses in the United States are called to observe a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children.
- For those who have been involved in an abortion, God and His Church offers forgiveness and healing after abortion.
- For Christians, being prolife means embracing with the love and mercy of Jesus to all who have been involved in an abortion.
- Abortion is part of the attack against the truth about marriage, about family, about procreation and human sexuality, including the truth that is being attacked today of God creating two sexes.
- The family, which God designed as a safe haven for His civilization of love to flourish, is an institution that no other institution can come close in its importance to the family.
- Joh Mary shares his involvement in the prolife movement.
Doing what God calls each one of us to do is helping to spread God’s love and mercy, in the sacrifice of babies in abortion. Throughout history, evil has attacked the most precious of our society and the closest with God. Abortion is the continuation of that child sacrificing. In Mass we can offer our sacrifices with Jesus in praying for the protection, the restoration and protection of human life, from conception until natural death.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. Because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind. And to set at liberty, those who are oppressed. Pope Francis had directed a couple of years ago that this third Sunday of Ordinary Time, be dedicated to the Sunday of the Word of God declared the Sunday the Word of God. And yet here in the United States that because as Mother Magdalene mentioned, because of the anniversary of the decision to legalize abortion, the bishops have asked that this time and be directed to the pro-life effort. And just a couple of weeks ago, the Archdiocese sent them all the priest letter and I’ll read you a few passages from that it says January 22, is the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout our nation. Each year all diocese in the United States are called to observe a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children, which was yesterday. Important as it always is, this intention carries a particular weight this year, while the Supreme Court is getting ready to issue a decision in the Dobbs versus Jackson’s woman’s health case which came from Texas, as Roe vs. Wade did also. This is the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal in all 50 states. Archbishop Gustavo’s desire is for all priest ministering in the Archdiocese to preach on the gift of life and the legal protection of unborn children during the Masses they celebrate this weekend. So, I want to do so in obedience to the archbishop’s request. About a year and a half ago, in the lead up to last elections I preached two homilies on abortion. And just to summarize a few of the points I made there. One is that we now have good alternatives to abortion, providing better choices. Because to be truly prolife is also to be truly pro women. And we don’t have to choose between loving the mother or the child. But we’re called to love both. And for those who have been involved in an abortion, God and His Church offers forgiveness and healing after abortion. Those who have had an abortion are often victims themselves, victims of the lies that were told, pressure, manipulation, and a society which often traps people in this and many feel that they cannot be forgiven. So, the Church offers a liberating process of healing and reconciliation. And part of that process is to recognize the truth of what abortion really is. But above all, to recognize the greater truth of God’s infinite mercy. For Christian, being prolife means embracing with love with the love and mercy of Jesus, all who have been involved in an abortion. And recalling that when innocent life is threatened, it is all of our business. As the bishop said, some time ago, abortion is America’s fundamental human right. A fundamental human rights issue of our time. Like at one point it was slavery. What they’re saying today, it is in our country abortion. We call it the God’s law is always before man’s law. And so, if you want to hear those two homies, that was in October of 2020, but I want to go on a building on those two homilies, I want to go on today and I want to share a little bit of my own experience. This was in the late 80s. And at that point, I was a young priest serving in Laredo. And I begin hearing about a young woman called Joan Andrews now Joan Andrews Bell, and she had been arrested many times for her nonviolent activism to save babies threatened by abortion. She said if you see a child drowning in a swimming pool, because she was arrested for trespassing because she would go and sit in an abortion clinic. She said, if you see a child drowning in a swimming pool, but the pool is surrounded by stern warnings against trespassing, you can ignore those signs to save the child. And Texas there was I think something like a good Samaritan Law, which gave you permission to trespass if it was to save a life. And so, she would peacefully she and her companion to peacefully block the oftentimes the entrance to an abortion clinic and not cooperate by going limp when they were arrested. And she was arrested many, many times. After one point for instance when the judge told her that she could go free, but she had to register for probation. She said, I cannot violate my conscience or offend God, to accept probation would be to accept the lie that I harm society by trying to peacefully, prayerfully and nonviolently save children from the brutal death of abortion. And so, she was, as I said, oftentimes in prison sometimes for long stretches. And at one point in the letters that she was writing from prison were collected into a book, and the book was entitled, “You Reject Them” (that is these little babies,) “You Reject Me.” And speaking of her sense of solidarity with the victims of abortion, and in the reading we had today from St. Paul, St. Paul said that if one part suffers one part of the Church of the Mystical Body, if one part suffers, all parts suffer with it, the solidarity among all the members of the Church, and she had a special sense of the solidarity with the victims of abortion. And then later on, she and her husband went on to run homes for unwed mothers, and they adopted a number of special needs children. But anyway, getting back to those late 80s. And so, there was a businessman, a successful CEO of a company that he had started his name was Rex Moses, in Austin, who he recounted… I heard him talking about, he was in his office one day and reading a newspaper and running across this account about Joan Andrews, and he thought, she’s crazy. And then his second thought was, well, either she’s crazy for what she’s doing, or I’m crazy for not doing it. And so, he began getting involved, and more and more involved in these peaceful manifestations he was organizing at first in Austin. And then eventually, he was working full time for a while in these. And so, I also eventually got involved in this with the support and permission of my superior. And so, these manifestations were, so it was first of all in Austin, and Austin was a very difficult place to do this. And that also in Laredo and later on in Corpus Christi, where the bishop, Bishop Rene Cressida, was very supportive. But we would be a group of us who would prayerfully peacefully, place ourselves in front of an abortion clinic, to block the entrance. And oftentimes there would be arrests. And the thing that struck me about this one thing was that it was prayerful, it was peaceful, and also it was a spirit of sacrifice. Because the sacrifice of doing this and then the sacrifice of being arrested. And I was arrested one time and there was a trial and the judge was just, this was in Austin, again, a very difficult place to do that. The judge just dismissed the Good Samaritan defense. And one of the things that struck me in in this involvement was a sense of how deep were the roots of evil in abortion, this wasn’t just a political issue. There was a very powerful network. Almost all the powers in our society were in some way involved. And so, there was as I say these powerful, powerful influences behind this. And so much of it was built on lies that we know who the father of lies is. And Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was one of the primary doctors promoting and helping bring about the legalization of abortion later on, had a conversion. He publicly declared that so many of the arguments that were using and the statistics even were based on pure fabrication and lies. And so, it really as I was being involved, for instance during these manifestations, so it was, in some ways was kind of like being at a prayer meeting, because the people were praying and singing hymns. And then oftentimes there would be, in Austin, there would be a counter manifestation. And it was so striking that the difference because they would be they would get real up close, and just start cursing and yelling at us, and then often blasting us really aggressive, metal, evil music at us. And so, it was such, I mean, we’re just like a couple feet apart and the contrast was so striking. And, so my awareness was growing that this was corrupting, had corrupted so much of our political, our legal system, our law enforcement, our medical, so much of our society with this poison. And so, it was an opportunity to reflect on what is truly involved in abortion. Again, it’s not just a political issue. To put into some perspective in our country, that these statistics are from just a few years ago that heart disease is listed as the number one killer, killing and about 650,000 persons every year. Accidents, suicides and homicides combined, kill about another 230,000. And yet, the number of children killed by abortion every year just in our country is over 800,000 about 850,000. So, a huge cause of death. But not just a death, but also an attack on the most fundamental human bond in our society, heart disease is not a moral and spiritual attack. But abortion is attacking the most fundamental bonds, human bond, the bond between parents and their child. In Scripture, we see key moments of attack on children. When the attack on the Israelites in Egypt when all the young boys were to be killed. And when Jesus was born, King Herod we know tried to kill all the young boys in that area. And God in the Old Testament, even hear the prophets like Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, speaking the Word of God, about when God’s own people are contaminated by the child sacrifice of the pagans around them. Because these pagan idols, these pagan demons, were demanding child sacrifice. And so, this is this sign of Satan, this bloodlust of Satan, attacking those who are especially precious in God’s eyes. the little children. And that spirit of child sacrifice is continuing to our time. An attack against Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Life and Love that St. John Paul promoted so strongly. And so, abortion is part of the attack against the truth about marriage, about family, about procreation and human sexuality, including the truth that is being attacked today of God creating two sexes, who are meant to complement each other, and the truth of marriage being a profound expression of the complementarity, and this complementarity and that’s only possible between one man and one woman. So, the family which God designed as a safe haven for His civilization of love to flourish, other than the Church itself, no other institution comes close in its’ important to the family, which is why it is so under attack. And so even though there’s a potential for the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision to be overturned, as important as that is, if it happened, it would still leave plenty of work to be done, to end abortion at the state level. But even more fundamentally, to convert hearts and minds, that’s the fundamental work, conversion of heart and mind. As important as the legal and political battles are, this is a spiritual battle, to be fought with truth and love and evangelization. Whatever the supreme courts decide, Catholics need to be ready to continue to fight for life. So, I was sharing a little bit of my own experience, and as the more I got involved, the more I sensed how important this was. Because there’s many different ways that we can be involved. We can have one website that has the list, a lot of them we give a lot of resources, is the Priests for Life website. But we can help provide alternatives help heal like Project Rachel, help educate, working to change legislation. But as I was getting very involved in this in this prolife activism, then at one point, my superiors wanted me to help start a foundation in Mexico, one of our community so they asked me to now to stop my involvement in this prayer life work. And that was very difficult, because I was understanding more how important it was. But then I realized that the best thing that I can do is to do whatever God is asking me, even if I don’t always understand it, because if the evil one is the real root of this, of this evil, the only one who can win this battle is our Lord Himself. And so, it is, by seeking to do God’s will God’s will for each one of us, that we can be most effective. You know, in the reading we had today we’re St. Paul’s talking about the Church as a body, in the body, each part has a different function. And not all the parts are called to do the same thing. But the body functions well, when each part is doing what it is called to do. Each one of us has our particular role. And in fact, that obedience to my superiors was what eventually led to founding this little Mission of Divine Mercy. Faith so that God can act, because it is only the Lord Himself, again, I think all these human efforts are good and needed, but it’s really only the Lord Himself, who will win this victory. And we can most effectively help by doing God’s will, whatever God’s will is for each one of us. Faith so that God Himself can act. And so that’s the particular role this Mission Divine Mercy is to help increase faith and help us live faith so that we can let God act through us. And this little Mission of Divine Mercy might seem very far away from prolife activism. But I think, on the contrary, it’s like a hidden part of God’s plan, like God, preparing his counterattack, which remains hidden, until the time comes for it to enter into force. So, each one of us in this great struggle in which abortion is one of the key battles, but it’s only part of this much deeper evil. Again, it’s not enough to just change laws. Abortion is one of the terrible manifestations of the whole, evil, fundamental evil, which is corrupting our world. And so, each one of us, the best thing we can do is whatever God is asking you to do. For some, it’s maybe raising a family. For all it’s in different ways, bearing witness to Jesus. And there’s something that each one of us can do right now, right now during this Mass, because it’s only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. that can destroy evil down through its very roots. And so that’s how we come to Mass, that’s the opportunity we’re given at Mass to come offer our own sacrifices, our own suffering. And there’s a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of suffering in many of our lives right now. And we can offer that in this holy sacrifice, in union with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the destruction of the kingdom, the reign of evil. And so today, we asked, our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, Mother of Mercy and Compassion, and our victorious queen, Our Lady of Victories, with her to unite our sacrifices and our sufferings, to those of Jesus in this Mass for all the victims of abortion, so that God’s mercy may be poured out upon them in praying for the protection, the restoration and protection of human life, from conception until natural death. Jesus, we trust in You. Amen.