This Is My Body
By Fr. Frank A. Pavone
Note: This brochure is also available in
Spanish, in Portuguese, and
Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord
Jesus to save the world are also used by some to promote abortion? "This is my
body." The same simple words are spoken from opposite ends of the universe, with
meanings that are directly contrary to each other.
Scripture tells us that on the night before He died to save all people, the
Lord Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples,
saying, "This is My Body, which is given up for you." He was pointing to what
would happen the next day, when He would give that same Body on the cross. He
sacrifices Himself so that we may live. He gives up His Body so that He can
destroy the power of sin and death. As a result, He welcomes us into His life,
into His Kingdom. He makes us members of His Body!
On the other hand, abortion supporters say, "This is my body. So don't
interfere with it! It's mine, so I can do what I want, even to the point of
killing the life within it. All is secondary to my dominion over my body." In
fact one abortion supporter has written, "I say their (pro-lifers') God is worth
nothing compared to my body" (Michelle Goldberg, "Rant for Choice," in
University of Buffalo student newspaper, 1995).
Having been inspired by this brochure, the Christian
singer DANA has written a song, "This
is My Body."
"This is my body." Same words, different results. Christ gives His body away
so others might live; abortion supporters cling to their own bodies so others
might die. In giving His Body, Christ teaches the meaning of love: I sacrifice
myself for the good of the other person. Abortion teaches the opposite of love:
I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself!
"This is my body." If, indeed, our body is ours, then let's ask the next
question: Why? The answer is so that we can give our body, our life, ourself,
away in love to one another and to God. Christ declares, "Do this in memory of
me." He calls us to do what He did, and that is precisely how we reverse the
dynamic of abortion. Mom and Dad must say to their child, "This is my body, my
life, given for you," rather than, "This is my body, my life, so go away!"
Human happiness and fulfillment are never found by pushing other people out
of the way. They are found when we push ourselves out of the way. Pope John Paul
II says as much in Evangelium Vitae #51: He who had come "not to be
served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45),
attains on the cross the heights of love: "Greater love has no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13). And he died for us
while we were yet sinners (cf. Rom. 5:8).
In this way Jesus proclaims that life finds its center, its meaning and its
fulfillment when it is given up.
At this point our meditation becomes praise and thanksgiving, and at the same
time urges us to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps (cf. 1 Pt. 2:21).
We too are called to give our lives for our brothers and sisters, and thus to
realize in the fullness of truth the meaning and destiny of our existence.
"This is my body." It is no accident that the same words are used for such
different purposes. A spiritual conflict rages here. We win, in our own lives
and in the world, by living these words in self-giving, life-giving love.
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