Our celebration of the Liturgy this weekend comes on the eve of the 45th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the incredibly wrongly decided Supreme Court decision that declared open season on the children of this nation not yet born but very much alive in the womb of their mother. Best estimates tell us that we have now hit the tragic number of 60 million killed due to the evil of abortion. To this very day, aborting children is the law of the land in a once great nation such as ours. The Saint who was our Pope, John Paul the Great, told us that a nation that kills it's own children is a nation without a future; a nation without hope. Saint Mother Teresa said that a nation that accepts abortion is not teaching it's people to love but to use any violence to get whatever we want.
In today's Gospel of Mark we hear the first words proclaimed by Jesus as the start of his public ministry: "Repent and believe in the Gospel." As people of faith we indeed must repent, especially repent of the sin of abortion. Jesus went on to tell the first apostles that He would make them "fishers of men." Brothers and sisters, you and I are in this day and in this place fishers of men. So too are all those many witnesses aginst abortion and for Life we saw at the March for Life Friday in Washington DC and Saturday in Baton Rouge.
Among those witnesses for Life at both of these prayerful marches were members of our own parish family. Tuesday last, when many of us were preoccupied with the dangerous wintry weather, Matthew Bourgeois and Father Charles led our youth group on a long bus trip so they could be present for the March for Life. We were represented because of our youth. We owe them our profound thanks because they were our arms, legs and voice from St. Jane de Chantal that spoke clearly, no to abortion, no to the killing of innocent children, yes to life, choose life! I am inspired by their witness and I hope all of us are too. On Saturday morning many parishioners, including our Knights of Columbus, many in full regalia, boarded another bus to be in Baton Rouge for the Louisiana March for Life. Again, thank you for representing the Pro-Life witness of this parish by being the arms, legs and voice of us all on the streets of Baton Rouge. Again, I am inspired by your witness and I hope all of us are too!
Last year the VP of this nation said Life is winning. May his words be true. Friday the President of this nation made it clear that he will support Pro-Life, anti-abortion causes. Yes, we have seen many Pro-Life victories in the past year but we should not be naive to think much work is still needed. As people of faith we should do what we can, where we can. We have a Pro-Life ministry here, active and effective, in large part thanks to the leadership of Loretta and Neal Naquin and many others as well. Perhaps there is a place for you in this ministry. When given the opportunity to articulate the Pro-Life message of Holy Mother Church, can we point to the teachings from Scripture, Tradition and the Catechism? We can take the time now, inspired by the witness of our fellow parishioners, to brush up on what we teach and what we say and what we hope for! And all of us, of proper age, can and should be very informed citizens that know how to vote a Pro-Life position when election time rolls around. We must stand firm against clinics and institutions, like Planned Parenthood, that exist primarily to preserve the evil of abortion. And still there is more. We must pray feverently for a change of heart. We must pray that we, in this very country, can be like the people of Nineveh from our 1st reading, and realize our wrongs, repent of our wrongs, declare a fast and let God see that we have turned from our evil ways.
For those who know someone who was involved in abortion also share with them the promise of God's mercy, if indeed they are suffering and want to repent. The Church offers a path to those who wish to "repent and believe in the Gospel". And for those who always want to remind us that Pro-Life means so much more than just being against abortion, the Church says absolutely! The Church is never a church that says either/or, we say yes and!! And there is always ample time to preach and teach about social justice, death penalty, elderly issues, immigration, marriage as one man one woman, prison ministry, just and living wages and more. Holy Mother Church is always out front in promoting all things Life, the inherent dignity afforded to all people. But today we declare that being Pro-Life must be foundationally against abortion and for all efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade. As the Priest says every Mass at the end of the penetential rite, May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and lead us to eternal life. And may we, His people, be warriors for Life!