In the 84th sermon of his commentary on St. John's Gospel, St. Augustine quotes the following translation of Proverbs 23:1-2: "If you sit down to eat at the table of a ruler, observe carefully what is set before you; then stretch out your hand, knowing that you must provide the same kind of meal yourself."
We are seated, tonight and at every Mass, at the table of a ruler, Jesus Christ. He is a ruler because He is Almighty God. St. Paul instructs us, "All things were created through Him, all things were created for Him. He is before all else that is; in Him, everything continues in being" (Col.1:16-17). Let us have no watered-down notion of Jesus Christ as simply another man or another religious leader on par with all the rest. He is God and has dominion over all life. Only because of Him does your heart keep beating; only because of Him can you take your next breath. It is He who steers the stars in their courses, and He who will judge us on the last day.... All things were created FOR Jesus Christ. All the galaxies of the universe exist for Him. All the rivers and mountains, plants and animals, and all people who were, are, and will be have come into being for Christ. That is why the unborn exist as well--for Him.
And seated at the table of this ruler, we must observe what is set before us. At every Mass, a miracle occurs. The bread and wine, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the priest, literally become the Body and Blood of Christ. After the consecration, there is no more bread or wine on the altar; there is only Christ. And it is the whole, living Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, for He is risen and alive forevermore.
The Host upon which we gaze and which we receive is, therefore, a human life as well as a Divine one. Christ on the cross hid His Divinity; here in the Eucharist He hides even His humanity--but both are truly here. A human life hidden under the appearance of bread and wine! How human life is also hidden in the womb! What many conclude to be mere tissue or a mass of cells is hidden human life! As we recognize a human life in the Sacred Host, so we are renewed in our ability to recognize the humanity of the pre-born, even from conception.
Christ's life which we touch in the Eucharist, furthermore, is offered for us. "This is My Body, which will be given up for you... This is My Blood; it will be shed for you." The Mass is a sacrifice; it is the very sacrifice of Jesus. This is the essence of the love of the Sacred Heart. "Greater love has nobody, than to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn.15:13). He gave His life for us, for all people everywhere, for the unborn. That very same act of self-giving is present in the Mass. This is what is set before us.
Then, as Proverbs instructs us, we must provide the same kind of meal ourselves. Certainly we cannot provide anything comparable to the sacrifice of Christ or the gift of Communion. Yet what we can provide is told us by St. John. "By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for others" (1Jn.3:16). Here is where our love for the unborn derives its strength! It is not merely "love"; it is Christian love! It is rooted in the Person in whom and for whom the unborn exist; it is shaped by His own sacrifice on the cross and in the Mass; it is lived out in our own self-giving even unto death! We who hear Christ say, "This is My Body" will respond, "Lord, this is my body also--take it. This is my energy, my will, my knowledge, my time, my courage, poured out for the sake of my pre-born brothers and sisters! I will lay down my life for them, that they might live!"
Indeed, Christ has come that they and we might have life, and have it to the full (Jn.10:10). And this is also specifically Christian, in that He did not come simply to give us eighty years or so on this earth. He came to give us everlasting life (Jn.3:16). Christ is coming back to earth, on a day we do not know. It will be a public coming; every eye will see Him--those who loved Him, and those who hated Him; those who protected the pre-born and those who destroyed them. And all will know the truth; all will know the sacredness of life and the Lordship of Christ. And that will be the day of the final pro-life victory, the day of the ultimate answer to abortion--for it will be the Day of the Resurrection! All the dead, of every place and time, shall rise! And the saved shall enter into eternal joy with the Lord and one another.
Let us look forward to heaven! Let it encourage and strengthen us! For we shall be there forever. The next time you are at the beach, take some sand in your hand, and notice how many tiny grains can fit on a single finger. Then imagine that a bird comes and takes one of those tiny grains, and flies away for a million years. Then he comes back and takes a second tiny grain, and flies away for another million years, and then returns and takes a third grain. When, at this rate, he has emptied all the beaches off the entire face of the earth, we will only have begun our first morning in heaven!!!!! Forever!!!!! It is a long time--without end! And we shall be rejoicing with Christ and with each other in the fullness of victory, the fullness of LIFE. Amen.