Pastor Message - October 13, 201905/18/2021
“Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:13-17).
October is designated by the Church each year as Respect Life Month, a time when we reflect on and renew our efforts throughout the year to promote the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has chosen for this year’s theme: Christ, Our Hope in Every Season of Life. This theme places Christ and hope at the very center of our work for life as members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and reminds us of what is distinctly Christian about our pro-life efforts.
Many people and groups from practically all religions and none work to protect the dignity of human life. Some do it for philosophical reasons, some for personal reasons, and there is nothing wrong with these motives. We are glad to work together with all people who support life. For us as Christians, however, we are pro-life because Christ is pro-life. Life is the very reason he came on his saving mission to redeem us: “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Son of God took on our flesh as a helpless infant, conceived and born under very trying circumstances; spent his public life caring for the sick, the poor, and those whose lives were least respected and most in danger; and entered into the mystery of suffering and death himself to free us from death, shattering its iron bars and opening the way for us to the fullness of life in the resurrection. Because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we who are joined to him are able to pass with him through whatever difficulties and circumstances our lives face, even death itself, to ever newer and fuller life.
That is the reason for our hope in a world that seems to be growing ever darker with increasing threats to human life, with evermore radical laws expanding the legality of abortion, even up to the moment of birth itself, with more countries and states legalizing euthenasia and the renewal of capital punishment by the federal government, and with ongoing violence, poverty, and persecution. The list of threats to life goes on, but so does our hope. Hope is exactly the message our world needs, because only the light of hope can drive away the darkness. People who have hope do not seek death but life so that they can see their hope realized, and there is no hope so strong and enduring as that for eternity. So let us bring hope to our world today by being messengers of Christ, the reason for our hope, and by putting him at the center of all our pro-life efforts.
Fr. Marc Stockton