Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/31/2021

Dear friends of God,

We are a people of life. Sadly, there are many who are people of lies. The truth that we live as Catholic Christians is that all lives are sacred. The lie that many tell and live is that only some lives deserve to be treated with dignity. John Paul II began his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae with these prophetic words: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by

the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.” We believe in the sacredness of life from conception to natural death. On January 22nd, with great sorrow for our nation and the unborn we remembered the 48th anniversary of the legalization of abortion for the whole nation. From the earliest days of the Church, we have opposed abortion. The words of the psalmist share this intimate notion of God’s gift of life.

 

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works! My very self you know. (Psalm 139:13-14)

We must always fight for the right to life. However, we cannot stop at saying that I am pro-life and believing that I am pro-life without caring for children after they are born.  Otherwise, we are anti-abortion, not pro-life. What we believe as Catholics regarding life is a message that the entire nation, and world, needs to hear. In the United States, we have turned the message of life into a political game that no one is able to win and only draws us more into division and hateful rhetoric. We need to protect the unborn as well as care for our children after they are born. It is a challenging message, one where we need to act with love and compassion instead of barricading ourselves with words of division.

 

This is not a partisan issue, it is a concern for all of humanity. Again, let me say that all life is sacred and has God given dignity. This has implications for all of our lives.  It comes to light in all of the “hotbed” issues of our contemporary world. We need to work for the abolition of abortion and we need to feed the hungry, and make sure that everyone has healthcare that they can afford. Healthcare is a human right. We need to make sure that our children have opportunities for education that build on their God given gifts and talents. We need to visit the dying and the imprisoned and never kill anyone. Our protection of life is consistent and lifelong from conception to natural death. It is our responsibility that must be reflected in our call to love God, his creation and our neighbors.

 

As followers of Jesus, we call ourselves to a higher standard in our lives where even our enemies need to be treated with kindness. Jesus tells us to love our enemies. It is implicit in that call that everyone in the world has God given dignity that has to be respected and cared for in a direct way. The way of Jesus is not easy: that is why we need our Eucharistic community. We also need to grow in our lives of prayer. The holiest people of all traditions know that prayer is central to our survival. Mohandas Gandhi (assassinated on January 30, 1948) loved Christ. He even read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) every day of his adult life. This nonviolent man reminds us of the survival mechanism that is prayer. “Prayer has saved my life. Without it, I should have been a lunatic long ago.” Let us take time to pray for each other this week and maybe bring a little more needed sanity to our world.

 

Much love,
Father Kevin