The Fourth Commandment is “Honor thy father and mother.” The Lord worked through our parents to bring us into being; He asked for their collaboration, for their generosity, in bringing about a plan that He had decided on from all eternity – that we should exist to love and serve Him. This commandment points to the dignity of human procreation. It also points to the profound privilege and responsibility that parents have in being open to life and in being ready to protect the lives that God entrusts to their care. Those who claim a right to abortion are violating the fourth commandment. No parent is the owner of his or her children. God alone owns and rules human life, and He entrusts to parents the awesome gift of welcoming that life with joy.
Each year I have the privilege of addressing the various national training conventions for pregnancy center directors. Over 2,300 of these centers across the United States serve close to 2 million people every year. This outnumbers the approximately 750 abortion mills. And while the abortion mills receive millions of dollars from the government, 29 out of 30 people who work in the pregnancy centers are volunteers.
As I travel the nation, I frequently visit these centers, which are usually affiliated either with Heartbeat International, Care Net, or NIFLA, three of the largest networks of centers.
I urge the Churches and the centers to work very closely together so that everyone tempted to abortion will know that better alternatives are close at hand. Visit priestsforlife.org to learn more.
The Third Commandment requires us to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Scripture tells us the Lord rested on the seventh day. This was not because He was tired, but rather because He was foretelling the Sabbath Day that Jesus would rest in the tomb after His work of offering the sacrifice of His Passion and death. On that day the Lord preached to the dead and bid them to leave the place of death and to come with Him into life eternal.
Keeping holy the Lord ’s Day, then, reminds us that God is on the side of human life. It also reminds us that He is Lord of life. All our activities and choices are under Him, which is why we pause on the Lord’s Day to worship Him in Church.
The Second Commandment is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This does not only mean that we shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in cursing when we are angry. It also means that we should not use God’s name or His Word to justify actions that he abhors.
There are religious groups and individuals in our society who do exactly that when it comes to abortion. They say they are “prayerfully pro-choice.” Groups like the “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” claim that God’s word allows abortion, and they even celebrate it with pro-choice liturgies.
This is a distortion of God’s word and an abuse of his name. It is a direct violation of the second commandment. Let’s honor the name of God by honoring the lives he creates.
The First Commandment is “I am the Lord your God; you shall not have other gods besides me.” There are many ways of having false gods. Pope John Paul II once wrote that to think we are the ones who decide whether a child should be created is to say that God is not God. At the root of the contraceptive mentality, and at the root of the so-called “pro-choice” mentality, is idolatry. We place our choices before God’s choices. We break the first of all the commandments. In the Old Testament, we read that God’s people committed idolatry when they sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire to demons. Until we end the child sacrifice of legal abortion, we are guilty of the same kind of idolatry. Let us worship the Lord of Life!
This Sunday is “Vocations Sunday.” We pray that many will hear the call to the priesthood, the call to devote themselves fully to the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, which is the Gospel of Life. Many young people today are finding their vocation precisely because of the Church’s witness to the sanctity of life amidst the holocaust of abortion. Responding to a vocation requires counter-cultural service, which is precisely the context which the pro-life movement offers. Devoting oneself to the defense of life provides a powerful seed-bed for the flowering of priestly vocations, just as a response to a priestly vocation is necessarily a commitment to the defense of life. Let us pray today for many “good shepherds,” and let us encourage those who have already accepted that call.
On the first Easter night, Thomas was not with the Apostles when Jesus appeared to them, risen from the dead, but Scripture does not tell us where Thomas was.
Because he was the type of person who needed to see things for himself, perhaps he was out looking for Jesus, on the very road on which the women, that morning, had said they had seen Him alive.
But Thomas did not find Jesus, until he returned to the community of Peter and the other apostles.
This is an important lesson. We need the community of the Church, united around the successor of Peter.
That community affirms the Gospel of Life. By staying close to the community we are strengthened in our pro-life commitment, despite the fact that some in our lives may disagree.
On the first Easter Sunday afternoon, two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus, discussing all the events that had just happened. However, they did not yet realize that Jesus had risen from the dead. Even when Jesus began walking with them on that road, they did not recognize Him.
We do not know what changes the Risen Body causes in our appearance, but aside from that factor, we read in this Gospel account that the disciples were “looking downcast.”
Often we are too absorbed in our own disappointment to see that hope is right in front of us. This is the case with many who are pregnant, afraid, and tempted to abort. Despair and fear can lead to the violence of abortion – unless we intervene and show that the Lord is walking with us.
As the women went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint His body, they asked one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us?”
The stone was huge, and it sealed the body of Jesus in the grave – or so they thought. Not only had the stone already been rolled away, but Jesus was not there; He was alive.
The women’s question persists today: Who will roll away the stone for us? Who will free humanity from death, from violence, and from despair? How do we find freedom from evil and sin? How are we to roll away the culture of death and nurture a culture of life? The stone can seem too large for us.
Yet like the question, the answer also persists: Jesus Christ is Risen! In Him we advance the victory of life.
On Easter morning, the women who came to the tomb were asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here; He has been raised.”
Jesus Christ broke the power of death and overturned its kingdom, which is why we can confidently work against evils like abortion and euthanasia. How easy it is for people to seek the living among the dead. Despair causes them to look to death as a solution. People are made to think that freedom consists in the ability to choose death, either for themselves or their children, but this freedom and these solutions are only in Jesus Christ. We are not to seek the living one among the dead. He is not there. He has been raised, He lives forevermore, and He gives us the power to choose life.