This weekend we mark Respect Life weekend, and all month, Respect Life month. We call to attention in a special way to the dignity and gift of life. We defend life from conception to natural death; we defend the weakest and the most vulnerable among us - the unborn, the marginalized, the disabled, those near the end of life. We take a stand to fervently defend the dignity of life from its earliest beginning to the final moment. This range of beginning and end are THE most vulnerable where protection of life is most needed. The theme from the US Bishops for this month is to "Live the Gospel of Life," noting that 25 years ago, John Paul II wrote the Encyclical The Gospel of Life.
We've lost 1 million souls due to coronavirus -- 200,000 in the US, and in the holocaust by the Nazis in WWII, 6 million people of Jewish decent were killed. This is all very tragic and heart wrenching, as EVERY life is precious, EVERY life is a gift! The readings of this Sunday help us to appreciate this gift of life. As heartbreaking as it is to have 1 million people die of coronavirus and the 6 million Jews by the German Nazis in the holocaust - deaths we cannot ever forget - we must also remember that 60 million babies have had their lives tragically ended through abortion since Roe v. Wade to pass in 1971. Giving due respect to ALL the injustices in our world today, this amount is very devastating - 60 million babies, 1.2 million per year in the US alone, 2,900/day - 30% African American, 19% Hispanic - this is the greatest civil rights crisis of our times!!
When Pope John Paul II visited America in 1987 he praised all the good we do as a country but then added, "If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life!" Pope John Paul II continued after speaking of the good work we do as a country for immigrants, refugees, and the disadvantage, "All this will succeed only if respect for life and its protection by law is granted to every human being from conception until natural death." He declared the the abortion issue is the most important test of the US as a free nation. Prophetic words indeed 33 years ago, as we are a country that is built on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without life, the is no liberty or pursuit of happiness.
Pope John Paul II always spoke about the dignity of the "human person" rather than just saying humans or human beings. It is because he looked at each person as a wholly distinct creature, made in the image of God and endowed with an immortal soul. He considered the dignity and worth of each person, therefore, he saw the wrong of abortion and euthanasia. The Gospel of Life, Evangelium Vitae (1995), was written to promote a culture of life and was addressed to the lay faithful and all people of goodwill who are concerned about modern, daily threats to human life. This is not just a Catholic issue, this message applies to all people of every race, nation and creed. He wrote: "In the name of God, respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life."
We are all servants of God. Today, Jesus is calling you and me and everyone, to serve Him and that He is walking with us to help. Our Gospel today reminds us of God's generosity and trust. The vineyard has everything the tenants need, God has provided it all for us. The owner went away and left the vineyard in the hands of the tenants. By the use of this "free will", God trusts us to do what is good and right. This parable also reminds us of God's patience and justice. Many times He forgave the tenants, and many times He forgives us our faults. But while the tenants take advantage of the owner's patience, his judgment and justice prevailed, just as God's judgment and justice will prevail when we will have to answer to Him in the end.
Coronavirus is in the news each day, especially now with our President and the upcoming election, and yet we have almost 3,000 babies dying each day! The latest statistics I've seen show our government - spent our tax dollars, in paying Planned Parenthood $616 million in 2018 which killed 350,000 babies a year! Just about a week ago, the "born alive" bill was passed = meaning that a baby born alive after a failed abortion attempt, must receive medical care, how crazy is that? - that we need to have a bill passed to be able to give care for the baby to feed and keep him or her warm. This bill passed for something that is an undeniably God given right in the first place. This bill was previously voted down. The notion that we need a bill to tell us to take care of a baby born alive from a botched abortion goes against all that our inherent liberties our country set to preserve. What have we become as a nation? And then we wonder why we have chaos in our streets, lack of respect for those in authority and a lack of dignity for our brothers and sisters.
The U.S. Bishops conference has said that ending legal protection for abortion is a "preeminent priority" in public life, and numerous bishops have taught there are few or no issues that could outweigh the gravity of abortion.
In 2008, Bishop (now Cardinal) Kevin Farrell released a joint statement with Bishop Kevin Vann saying that in their view "There are no 'truly grave moral' or 'proportionate' reasons - singularly or combined that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by abortion each year."
Also in 2008, Archbishop Charles Chaput said, "What is a 'proportionate' reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It's the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life - which we most certainly will. If we're confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed."
Abortion, partial birth abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, civil injustice - we must always defend!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Americas, Pray for us!