In the Gospel (Mt 21:33-43) we experience something very shocking: clearly the workers in the vineyard do not have a respect for human life. They treat it as quite disposable, something that can be destroyed when it stands in their way. We hear our Lord lamenting that Israel has rejected God’s word, and because of that, the Kingdom of God is to be handed on to somebody else—the Gentiles. This is a clear warning to us about not only the individual soul, but the culture and society.
Today I am going to speak on a controversial issue. You may cringe to hear that, but didn’t Jesus frequently attempt to get people to believe very challenging truths?
One of the most important jobs of a priest is to help people form their consciences; and if I fail to do so, I will have to answer to God. Yes, telling the truth can cause division. Jesus said he came not to bring peace but a sword which would separate a man from his father, a daughter from her mother (Matthew 10: 34-36).
Our culture thinks it knows better than God, and we find it very hard to obey God in all things. We wish to remove consequences from an act—-“do what you want” is the mantra of our culture. Our culture has shifted from our Lord’s words: “this is my body, given up for you”, which we hear at every Mass, to a more selfish way “this is your body, given up for me”.
Scripture makes clear that we won’t achieve happiness or salvation if we reject God’s law.
Just based on statistics, it is very possible that some of you have had abortions or enabled them, and I want you to know I am not preaching on this issue to condemn you but to relieve you of the burden of that sin. Our Lord came to forgive sins so I invite anyone who carries the sin of abortion to come to confession and reconcile yourself to the Lord. He does not want you to carry that burden. I would like you to be free of that burden and for others never to experience it. I also recommend that women and men involved in abortion take advantage of one of the abortion healing-ministries, such as Rachel’s Vineyard.
Abortion is a tremendous evil. It kills innocent human life and haunts those involved for the rest of their lives. Those who fight against abortion are fighting both for the lives of the unborn and for the souls of all those involved in abortion. If human life is not respected and treasured in the womb, it will never be respected.
There are many ways of combating abortion, and good people have devoted themselves to providing direct services to needy women, praying outside of clinics, and educating the world. There is a wonderful prayer vigil on Franklin Street that has been so effective that Planned Parenthood has reduced their hours. Gabriel Project and Mom’s House bring real concrete help to women and children in unplanned pregnancies.
As long as abortion is legally protected in our culture, we are fighting against the culture. Any culture that allows the killing of the most vulnerable is a dying culture, and it is becoming clear that ours is.
Abortion is not just one issue among many when we learn that while 11 million people were killed by the Nazis, 42 million babies worldwide were aborted in 2019 alone. That is something like five New York Cities. In Pennsylvania a person could not get a heart surgery during the covid shutdown, but a woman could get an abortion. Nearly 62 million babies have been aborted in the U.S. since 1973. That is nearly as many as have been killed by communists worldwide over a full century. Vastly more babies died because of abortion than those who have died in all wars since the Civil War. The death penalty should never be given to a clearly innocent person. Yet that is exactly what abortion is—the death penalty to a defenseless person whose only “crime” is that the person exists.
The numbers are staggering and horrifying, but they mask the tragedy of particular individual women who often out of desperation submit to procedures that kill their babies and mark their souls.
We constantly tout that America is the freest and most charitable country in the world. We need be the force that brings the right to life to children in the womb and charity to women who need our help. It has long been taught by the church that all life is sacred. Abortion is chosen out of desperation: often the vulnerable woman is told she has no hope, that her child has no future. We need to stand strongly against this. Our Lord has transformed suffering, He has given us HOPE—the virtue in which we believe in God’s promises of eternal life, and that He will give us what we need to obtain it. At Baptism, hope is infused into our souls. We must bring this hope to the world, and we must help men and women who are losing hope and are tempted to think that the only solution is to pay somebody to end the life of their baby.
It is not my intention to tell you how to vote; my intention is to help you form your consciences as you prepare yourself to vote. Remember it is more important that you vote in accord with Gospel values and to allow Christ’s Church to help you form your consciences than to be formed by the media and celebrities.
We can find some help in forming our consciences from the U.S. bishops, have identified abortion as the preeminent moral and political issue of our times. They didn’t pick this issue out of a hat; they know how wrong racism is, how wrong greed is, how wrong is hostility to immigrants. But it is quite impossible to understand any of those issues as worse than killing unborn children by the billions. The child in the womb is the most innocent, defenseless immigrant who has been placed on death row by the culture. It is a crime the Church says cries to heaven for vengeance.
Some think the Church and Catholics failed to do all we could to oppose Nazi Germany and communism. Are we doing what we can to oppose the state-sanctioned killing of the unborn? Is there any other political issue that competes?
In the middle of a tumultuous time in Mexico where human sacrifice was rampant and there were very intense tensions between the Mexicans and the Spaniards, our Lady appeared to them. After her miraculous appearance and leaving an image on Juan Diego’s Tilma, millions sought baptism, and peace came to the land. We too can and should invoke our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, asking her to bring about a true revolution of love that respects the sanctity of human life, the family, and the proper worship of God in our culture.