This coming weekend the Church celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi. We worship the God Who gives us His very Body and Blood.
An early Christian symbol of Jesus was the Pelican, because of the legend that the mother Pelican wounded herself to feed her children with her own blood. You can still see this on some altars. This makes us think, at the same time, of the Eucharist and of the relationship between a mother and her unborn child, who is nourished in the most intimate way by nutrients carried in the mother’s blood. Jesus gives Himself to us daily on the altars of our Churches so that we can give ourselves to our children – born and unborn – daily on the altars of our lives.
The letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ made the sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross “through the eternal spirit.” This makes sense, because the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son, a love that is then poured out on us. It is in the Holy Spirit that we, too, have the power to love, which consists in giving ourselves away for the good of the other. “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Such is to be our response to the unborn. We sacrifice our time, efforts, possessions, positions, and reputations, in order to save their lives. By filling us with this love, the Holy Spirit unites the human family, whereas abortion divides it.
The Holy Spirit is God, and all He does and speaks to us is consistent with what God the Father and God the Son have done and spoken. In the sixteenth chapter of John’s Gospel we read these words of Jesus, “He will not speak on His own, but will speak only what He hears…because He will have received from me what He will announce to you.” And in John 14 we read, “The Holy Spirit…will…remind you of all that I told you.” Everything the Holy Spirit will ever say to us, individually or as a Church, will always reinforce the Gospel of Life. No disciple can claim the “freedom of the Spirit” to contradict the commandments, including that which forbids the killing of the innocent, whether born or unborn.
Forty days after His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven. What was different on that day than when He was in heaven before coming to earth? The difference was that now He was in heaven in a human body and soul – the same human nature that you and I share. Jesus took our humanity to the heights of heaven, making it possible for us to go there, too. The Ascension teaches the world the meaning and destiny of human life: we are called to be in the heights of heaven.
That is why we can never permit human life to be thrown in the garbage by abortion and other atrocities. Jesus has taken human nature to the heights of heaven, the same human nature shared by every unborn child.
On Monday we observe Memorial Day, a time to remember the U.S. men and women who lost their lives serving their country. “Greater love than this no one has,” the Lord Jesus said, “than to lay down his life for his friends.” Those we honor today laid down their lives for us, that we may enjoy the freedom we have in this country. That freedom is based on the recognition of the dignity of life and the dominion of God. The practice of abortion denies both. Abortion, in fact, is contrary to everything for which America stands and upon which she was founded.
Let us honor those who died for our country, and let us build on what they left us as we strive for a Culture of Life.
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.
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.