Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The prophet Isaiah speaks these powerful words in the first reading today: “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” The prophet raises his voice so that the word of the Lord will be heard, known, and understood by all people. Isaiah is proclaiming the truth of God’s power and mercy, while calling the people to follow. “For Zion’s sake” is almost Biblical-code for “for the sake of the truth” or “for the sake of justice.”
This weekend, we are reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, for the sake of justice, proclaimed the truth that all are created equal. His fight against racial discrimination changed our nation and our culture. We are aware, too, that this battle against racism continues in many ways. Our Catholic faith calls us to acknowledge the dignity of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or country of origin. For Zion’s sake, for Jerusalem’s sake, we cannot be silent but must proclaim and live the truth that God has endowed every human life of every race with inherent, infinite worth.
This week also marks the annual March for Life, when hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, D.C. to stand for the right to life on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. In his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II wrote “[H]uman life, as a gift of God, is sacred and inviolable. For this reason procured abortion and euthanasia are absolutely unacceptable. Not only must human life not be taken, but it must be protected with loving concern. The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love, and in this light human sexuality and procreation reach their true and full significance. Love also gives meaning to suffering and death; despite the mystery which surrounds them, they can become saving events. Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development. Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person’s life.”
With that in mind, I am reminded of a conversation I had many years ago with a volunteer at Malta House of Good Counsel in Norwalk, a home and ministry to mothers in crisis. The volunteer, explaining their mission, told me that it is one thing to say that we are pro-life and wish to see human life protected and another thing entirely to do something about it. Malta House, she said, tries to provide women a real alternative to the tragic prospect of abortion. There are many other organizations and ministries that do the same, thanks be to God! Additionally, the Church has many ministries to support women who have had abortions and to help them find hope and healing. I encourage you to visit https://www.maltahouse.org/, http://www.sistersoflife.org/, and http://hopeafterabortion.com/ to see some of the valuable work in support of families, children born and unborn, and those who are most in need.
In closing, I offer you this call from Pope St. John Paul II: “What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life: new, because it will be able to confront and solve today’s unprecedented problems affecting human life; new, because it will be adopted with a deeper and more dynamic conviction by all Christians; new, because it will be capable of brining about a serious and courageous cultural dialogue among all parties. While the urgent need for such a cultural transformation is linked to the present historical situation, it is also rooted in the Church’s mission of evangelization. The purpose of the Gospel, in fact is “to transform humanity from within and to make it new.” Like the yeast which leavens the whole measure of dough (cf. Mt 13:33), the Gospel is meant to permeate all cultures and give them life from within, so that they may express the full truth about the human person and about human life (Evangelium Vitae).”