Watch a video with homily hints from Fr. Frank
Celebrant: As John prepared the way for the Lord Jesus, let us now pray that all God’s people may prepare the world to receive Jesus yet again, amidst the many needs of our times.
That like John the Baptist, God’s preachers may proclaim the demands of His Word without fear, we pray to the Lord…
That like John the Baptist, God’s people may point out the way to repentance to the rest of the world, we pray to the Lord…
That like John the Baptist, God’s children may reveal the presence of Jesus in the midst of their friends and neighbors, we pray to the Lord…
That like John the Baptist, God’s servants who suffer persecution may remain faithful to his truth and patient in suffering, we pray to the Lord…
That like John the Baptist, God’s departed servants may enjoy the reward of their fidelity in the life that knows no end, we pray to the Lord…
Father, make us your prophets. As you answer our prayers, give us and all your people everything we need to be faithful to you and to proclaim your Word to the ends of the earth. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Telling the Truth like John the Baptist
John the Baptist preached the truth boldly, without sugar-coating it. In a Culture of Death, we must do the same. In “The Gospel of Life,” Pope John Paul II put it this way:
“The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behavior and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Is 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as "interruption of pregnancy", which tends to hide abortion's true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth” (EV n. 58).
VigilJer 1: 4-101 Peter 1: 8-12Luke 1: 15-17
DayIs 49: 1-6Acts 13: 22-26Luke 1: 57-66, 80
To proclaim the Culture of Life requires that we be prophetic. We realize, as the first readings both from the Vigil Mass and the Mass during the day tell us, that the message we proclaim, and the motive for which we proclaim it, are given to us from God. They do not derive from us. This is one of the key differences between our pro-life stance and that of the “pro-choice” defenders of death. They think that we are proclaiming “our own opinion,” and that in doing so, are setting ourselves up as superior to others. But nothing could be further from the truth. The message we have is the Lord’s, and the authority we have to proclaim it is not any superiority of ours, but precisely His command and his will to save humanity.
John the Baptist, as the Gospel passages from both masses make clear, was chosen by God to announce the Lord’s coming. His ministry was completely focused on Jesus, as is ours. The proclamation of the Gospel of Life is the proclamation of a person, who by his life and death conquered the Kingdom of death. It is by introducing others to the person of Christ that we put them on the solid foundation of the Culture of Life.
Moreover, coming to Christ requires repentance, which is why John baptized. Integral to repentance is accepting God’s dominion over human life and rejecting the idea that life is disposable by our own choice. Some try to be both Christian and pro-choice on abortion, but it is inherently contradictory. The fruit of repentance is a clear and uncompromising commitment to defend the sanctity of every human life, both on a personal and societal level.