Saturday, January 29, 2011

Abortion will end and the Culture of Life will triumph, Sermon of January 23rd

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
January 23rd, 2011
Sanctity of Life Sunday

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.

As Jesus moves from his home town of Nazareth to Capernaum in Galilee, St. Matthew sees the fulfillment of the prophecy which was given to Isaiah: The Messiah has come to the Galilee of the Gentiles and a light has dawned for Zebulun and Naphtali.
Yet, we may not be too familiar with Zebulun and Naphtali, or with any of the circumstances of the prophet Isaiah – without this knowledge, we can scarcely appreciate the power of this prophecy. It was during some of the darkest years of the history of ancient Israel that God spoke to Isaiah and many of the other prophets. The nation of Israel was being assaulted by extremely powerful nations, and it seemed that there was little hope. Indeed, the Jewish people were conquered and dispersed, exiled to Assyria and Babylon – the temple plundered and destroyed, Jerusalem ransacked, many of the people were killed. It was a time of darkness and despair.
But it was precisely at that moment, when it seemed that the light had gone out, that the Lord gave some of the clearest prophecies of the Messiah. It was then, when hope was nearly lost, that God was most closely united to his people, calling them on by the promise of the Christ.
There is a great lesson to be learnt here: When things are most difficult, when defeat seems inevitable, when all seems to be lost; then, most especially then, the Lord is present, he is working, and he will indeed be victorious.

It has been thirty eight long and difficult years since the US supreme court decision in Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion. For thirty eight long years, our nation has been a “Galilee of the Gentiles” and “a land overshadowed by death.” And, although there has certainly been great efforts and many good works accomplished by the Pro-life movement, it does not seem that we are any closer to winning the victory for the Culture of Life. Perhaps we are even tempted to despair, to think that abortion is here to stay, that the culture of death has won.
I tell you banish the thought! Banish despair and discouragement from your soul! For it is precisely now at this moment that God is most powerfully at work – yes, his work is hidden and mysterious, but it is also great and almighty. We know these two facts: God is all powerful and he is pro-life, that means that the Pro-life movement wins! We know the outcome, it will be a great victory for the Culture of Life. What we do not know is how we get to that victory. What is not yet clear to us is how we move from our current state of affairs to the total reign of the Culture of Life – and this is what causes pain and suffering on our journey, for the way is not wholly apparent to us.

But we know this – we know that the Pro-life movement will win, that the Culture of Life will be victorious, and that this victory will be accomplished through the work of God. It is God who will win the victory, it is God who will bring an end to abortion, it is God who will convert the hearts of our nation and the world. And because it is God who fights, the victory is already certain – what remains to us is to participate in his great triumph!
But how can we participate in the Lord’s work? What can we do to take part in the victory of the Culture of Life? There are three things I will mention, three essential ways that we can be involved in the Pro-life movement – prayer, works, and a boycott.

First, prayer. The most important and powerful way that we can support the Culture of Life and participate in the Lord’s victory is through prayer. We must pray and pray and pray, every day. Here special mention should be made of the Rosary, and the Family Rosary in particular. Through the Rosary, Mary will bring peace to the world and an end to abortion. Prayer is that most powerful means of changing the world because prayer contains the power of God himself!

Beyond prayer, there is works. We must also work in behalf of the Pro-life movement. This work is both local and national (and even global). On the local level we can support the Culture of Life through dedicating our time, talent and treasure to the various Pro-life organizations in our community. In our own town we are blessed to have a pregnancy outreach center starting – this is a great opportunity for us to participate in the building up of the Culture of Life. Special mention should also be made of the Knights of Columbus, their dedication to Life is well known to all.
We dedicate our time, talent and treasure to the Culture of Life – make no mistake, the proponents of the culture of death are very powerful and very wealthy, and they will use their power and riches to destroy your family and our nation. Though the victory of Life will be won by the Lord, he also desires that we should make use of the material blessings he has given us to fund and promote the Pro-life movement.

Another aspect of works for the Culture of Life, this time on a national level, is voting. In a democratic society, we are blessed to be able to influence our nations well-being through our vote. Be sure of this, there is no other issue on the voting ballet today which can be compared with the issue of abortion – this single issue is of greater concern and importance than all the other issues combined. We must vote with a pro-life conscience, as Catholics we must vote pro-life.
Now I am not talking about party politics here. I am not promoting one side over against another – I am speaking about issues, I am speaking about life. Some will say that no politician or party really cares about the Culture of Life at all, but that they simply give “lip service” to the Pro-life movement in order to get votes. Well, don’t let them! Don’t let them just pay “lip service”! The politicians need you more than you need them – you can force them to take the abortion issue seriously, if only you will let them know that this one issue is all important!

Finally, we participate in the coming victory of the Culture of Life through a boycott. We ought to boycott the culture of death – when we know that they are trying to destroy our families, why do we give the proponents of death our time and resources? We who stand for life must separate ourselves from the pro-death movement. But how do we do this?
First of all, we should take a look at any investments we may have. It will be imperative for us to ensure that our money is not invested in any company which profits from the culture of death. It is material cooperation in evil to have money invested with Planned Parenthood or other companies which sell contraceptives or abortifacients. How terrible it would be for us to make money from the growth of the death industry in America!
Moreover, we can boycott the culture of death by examining which companies and celebrities are most public in their support of abortion. If a company gives extensive donations to Planned Parenthood, we should boycott their products. If a celebrity is particularly vocal in supporting abortion or in advocating the destruction of traditional family values, we ought not to buy any of their movies or music.
For parents, there is a particular obligation to consider what music and movies your children are buying. Many of these celebrities are bent on the destruction of our culture – you would never let your children be friends with these celebrities in real life, why do you allow them into your home through the television or the stereo?

And now, last of all, I would like to address any here who have been harmed through the horrible plight of abortion – especially any who have been directly involved in abortion and who are still suffering from guilt and the adverse affects of this terrible sin. The Lord knows the pain you feel, our loving God reaches out to you today. Though indeed you may feel that you are in a dark valley and under the shadow of death, for you a light has dawned this day, which is Christ the Lord! Never despair, never give up. Remember, it is the Lord who will win the victory for you. No matter what the wound, no matter what the sin; Christ is greater. His light will dawn in your heart, indeed it is already illuminating the deepest recesses of your soul. His healing love will bring you to a place of peace, to the great joy of life everlasting.