Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Greatest Destroyer of Peace Today

(Fourth Sunday of Advent (C): This homily was given on December 20, 2015 at St. Pius X Church, Westerly, R.I., by Fr. Raymond Suriani.  Read Hebrews 10: 5-10; Luke 1: 39-45.)

[For the audio version of this homily, click here:Fourth Sunday of Advent 2015

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C, on February 5, 1994, Mother Teresa of Calcutta said these famous words:

I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? 

And so I’m sure that Mother Teresa, if she were still alive on earth in 2015, would not be surprised at all by things like the terrorist activities of ISIS, and the selling of fetal body parts by the people at Planned Parenthood—and the warped journalists in the mainstream media who have the audacity to defend what Planned Parenthood has done (all in the name of “science” of course!).  Nor would she be startled by TV programs like ABC’s “Scandal”, where, in last month’s season finale, a woman had an abortion while “Silent Night” was being played in the background!

Talk about blasphemy!

Nor would Mother Teresa find it shocking that racial tensions are mounting in many parts of our nation, and that violence against police officers is increasing.  As she said in that same 1994 Prayer Breakfast talk, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

Writer Michael W. Chapman put it well in an article he penned about a year after the Sandy Hook shootings happened in nearby Connecticut.  He wrote, “If it is okay to kill babies, then why are we shocked over shootings at Newtown? About 3,000 children are killed by abortion in the United States every day, yet the dominant media say … nothing. They instead demand gun control while the Planned Parenthood mill down the street is killing children by the bushel.”

I mention all this today, not to depress you right before Christmas, but rather to accent the importance of Christmas!  As Catholics we stand for life—natural life and supernatural life.  ALL LIVES matter to us, because all lives matter to God, who sent his divine Son into this world: preparing a body for him (as it says in today’s second reading from Hebrews 10), so that he could offer his life in sacrifice for our sins and make heaven possible for every human person—including great sinners (like the doctors who perform abortions and the people at Planned Parenthood who sell them).

Provided they sincerely repent, even they can be forgiven, even they can experience eternal life in the Lord’s kingdom.

That fact needs to be emphasized, especially in this Year of Mercy.

As Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

The “they” in that verse means “everyone”.

In opposition to the Planned Parenthood, pro-choice crowd, today’s gospel presents us with two great pro-life women: women who, like Mother Teresa, understood—and witnessed to—the sanctity of human life in its earliest stages.  I’m talking, of course, about Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist), and Mary, our Blessed Mother.  And don’t you find it interesting?—both of these pro-life women had very good reasons to be otherwise; both had very good reasons to abort their babies (at least that’s what pro-choice politicians and the people at Planned Parenthood would tell us!).  Elizabeth, first of all, was an old woman.  Don’t they tell us that the risks of being pregnant increase as a woman gets older?  And how were she and Zechariah supposed to care for a little baby when, in their advanced years, they would obviously need extra care themselves?  And isn’t that probably the reason why Mary went to visit her cousin in the first place?  It was because she knew that Elizabeth would need extra assistance just to make it through her pregnancy!

And how about Mary?  She was young, poor and unmarried: three of the most common reasons why—according to pro-choicers—abortion needs to be kept legal in this country.  They say to us, “Some women are too young to bring children into the world, so abortion needs to be an option for them; some can’t afford to raise a child, so we need to keep abortion legal and ‘safe’ for them (even though abortion is never safe!); some aren’t married and have no male support in their lives, so we need to provide them with a means of terminating their pregnancies.”

Can you imagine how the death-dealers at Planned Parenthood would have counseled Elizabeth and our Blessed Mother if they had had the opportunity?

Thank God they weren’t around in the first century!

But you know what?

Even if they had been around, it wouldn’t have mattered.  It wouldn’t have mattered at all!  All the misinformation, all the lies, all the clich├ęs they would have shared with Mary and her cousin would have fallen on deaf ears.  These two women knew the truth—they knew the will of God—they knew what was right—and they acted on that knowledge, even when it involved doing things that were difficult (things like assisting an elderly, pregnant relative when you’re going through a pregnancy yourself!).

Blessed Mother, St. Elizabeth, Blessed Mother Teresa—great women of faith and life—pray for us.  Pray that we will come to see the connection that so few in our society seem to be able to see at the present time: the connection between “the greatest destroyer of peace today”—abortion—and so many of the other evils that are currently afflicting us in our country and world.  And pray that we will act on that knowledge by doing what the three of you did: by doing all that we can to show
respect for and love toward the most innocent and helpless people among us: babies in the wombs of their mothers.  This we ask through Christ our Lord.  Amen.