The month of November is dedicated in a particular way to praying for the dead. This includes children who died before birth. These children did not have the opportunity to be baptized; the Church teaches, however, that we can hope for their salvation, and that we can entrust them with confidence to the mercy of God. The Lord loves these children even more than we do, and provides in mysterious ways for them to take hold of the eternal life we have in Christ. Praying for these children is an important way in which we recognize them as real persons, and in which we make reparation for the brutal way in which some of them were treated by abortion. If you want Masses offered for unborn children, simply send me their names at www.priestsforlife.org
Must-have pro-life book: Ending Abortion; Not Just Fighting It is a collection of lifesaving and informative pro-life essays from Fr. Pavone. Click here to order your copy today.
One day, the Lord Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, and was transfigured before their eyes. His clothes became as bright as the sun, Moses and Elijah were seen speaking with him about his upcoming passion, and the Father’s voice was heard declaring that he was his Son.
All this was a sign to those apostles that they should not be troubled by the events that would unfold. The betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus were to fulfill the Father’s plan for our salvation.
The Transfiguration is also a sign to us. Circumstances can make us forget that every human life is part of the Father’s plan, and that the glory of God is to be seen in every person, no matter how burdensome, unplanned, or ill that person may be.
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.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us that when Jesus rose from the dead, there was a great earthquake. In the Old Testament, earthquakes are a sign of the coming of God, the breaking in of the new age in which God’s kingdom will flourish.
That is what happens, of course, at the Resurrection. A new chapter of history now begins, in which the risen life of Christ is accepted by believers, who live this newness of life, reconciled and redeemed by the blood of the Cross.
In this new chapter of history, humanity is reconciled with God, and human life is raised in Christ to the heights of glory. God’s victory over death continues to grow.
It is therefore an age in which we have more reason than ever to respect and protect human life.
When the women who had gone to anoint Jesus’ body on the first Easter morning returned to the Apostles with the news that they had seen the Risen Lord, the Apostles refused to believe it. The story seemed like nonsense to them. That night, when Jesus appeared to them, He chided them for their stubborn refusal to believe.
The Apostles clearly were not engaged in wishful thinking, or a desire to make up the Resurrection story. If they were, then they would readily have used the women’s story as a starting point.
In reality, they came to believe because they saw and touched the Risen Lord. This gives us confidence. Death has been conquered, and therefore we can fight the culture of death, knowing that the victory of life is more than wishful thinking.