October 4, 2020 - Pastor Message10/23/2020
“Jesus said again, ‘A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly’” (John 10:10).
This weekend is Respect Life Sunday, launching Respect Life Month, our annual reflection as a Church on our efforts to respect and defend the dignity of every human life from conception until natural death throughout the year. This year’s theme, “Live the Gospel of Life”, reminds us that the central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of life. His entire purpose for taking flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, being born for us, teaching and healing us, and, ultimately, dying and rising for us, is to give us the fullness of life that will only be fully realized when we are with him in the glory of God the Father forever in the new heavens and earth that are to come.
The necessary precondition for and essential path to that goal is to live the most fully human life we can in this world, which means to live the most Christlike lives we can. By “we”, we mean all of us, every human being God creates, because he creates every human being with this divine destiny. It becomes our job as Christians then to ensure that every human being God creates has the opportunity and all the resources they need to achieve that goal.
At its most basic, this means that we need to ensure that the right of every human being God creates to biological life is protected from conception until natural death. One can hardly pursue a fully Christlike life if one's biological life is snuffed out at the whim of another person or group, or even oneself. Protecting human life goes beyond simply preventing killing, however. If people have a right to life, then they also have a right to all the things necessary to sustain and support life. This includes obvious things, such as adequate food, clothing, and shelter, but it also includes things that some people may not consider to be a part of a person’s right to life, such as basic healthcare, decent work with a living wage to provide for oneself and one’s family, a quality education necessary to obtain that decent work, the right to safety from violence, and the right to emigrate to find these necessary conditions if they are not obtainable in one’s own country or area.
The above is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it conveys the point that the right to life is much broader than the two or three issues we normally associate with it, as vital as those issues are. As Catholics, we promote a consistent ethic of life for every human being at every stage of development and in every condition of life. May we remember that as we go about our task to make sure that all human beings have the opportunity and the support they need to achieve their eternal destiny, the fullness of life.
Fr. Marc Stockton