Incredibly, today there is great fear in our society that our “freedom” to kill innocent children will be revisited or even repudiated by a U.S. Supreme Court, which had no right whatsoever to impose such a decision in the first place. There are now two generations of people who have lived since abortion has been legalized, and over 50 million who never got the chance at life.
We have recently concluded the remarkable Year of Mercy and we, as a believing community, have once again plumbed the depths of our limited human understanding and expanded upon our ability to act like God in a genuine sort of way. Now, I’m sure we all know people who “act like god” any chance they get and sometimes they become a little annoying. The Gospel, of course, imparts the true example of how we are to be like God our Father—especially in light of mercy, generosity and love. We are to be like Jesus.
We move on now, once again in a new year with new resolutions and commitments, to become better people and act more in accordance with God’s purpose for our lives as revealed by Jesus himself. This should lead us to a genuine reflection on the mystery of life and the miracle of the Incarnation itself. Bearing the graces and ideas we have received from the Year of Mercy, we understand that God offers his gift of mercy to each one of us, no matter what! But, as is the case with all of God’s gifts, freely given to each of us graced with free will, we must decide if we will receive the gift—and, more importantly, how we will use it in our daily lives. I stress this aspect strongly in my homilies at confirmation. God’s gifts are always meant to help us be more human and more fully alive in Jesus Christ. It is, however, always up to us to decide if we want God in our lives, or not.
God made each of us in his own image and likeness. He desires to be united with us forever in a loving relationship. God loves us uniquely and specially, treats each of us with respect, and instructs us to do the same with others. Every person is sacred and must be treated with the dignity that he or she deserves. No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly—everyone should be cherished and protected! In accordance with the Gospel mandate, this is the true teaching of our Catholic faith, explained for us in the Catechism.
From each tiny child waiting to be born, to individuals nearing death, all are precious and deserve our care and protection. We must take care to consider all people as sons and daughters of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.
As we now begin the new year and especially come once again to the grim anniversary that has sparked the purposeful and “legal” killing of innocent children by means of abortion, I invite you to consider carefully the words of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter “Amoris Laetitia.” I offer a beautiful quote from the document here:
Pregnancy is a difficult but wonderful time. A mother joins with God to bring forth the miracle of new life. Motherhood is the fruit of a “particular potential of the female body directed to the conception and birth of a new human being.” Each woman shares in “the mystery of creation, which is renewed with each birth.” The Psalmist says: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). Every child growing within the mother’s womb is part of the eternal loving plan of God the Father: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer 1:5). Each child has a place in God’s heart from all eternity; once he or she is conceived, the Creator’s eternal dream comes true. Let us pause to think of the great value of that embryo from the moment of conception. We need to see it with the eyes of God, who always looks beyond mere appearances (AL #168).
As we do each year, and particularly for the past 44 years, we continue to pray supporting the right to life for all people. It is through prayer and action that we will especially and mercifully consider the dignity of and God-given plan for all of creation.
Bishop William Patrick Callahan