Youth Rally and Mass for Life 2013 – Audio and Text of Homily from the Comcast Center Mass
Homily given by Rev. David Wells
January 25, 2013
Your Eminence, your Excellencies, brother priests, deacons, men and women in consecrated life and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ: It is good to be here! It is good to be here with so many people from around the country, so many people who share something essential in common—we are pro-life! Pro-life doesn’t just mean ‘I am against abortion.’ Pro-life means so much more than that. To be pro-life means that we affirm that life is good. Life is a blessing. Life is a joy. Life is a gift. In spite of all the evils in the world, which we are not blind to; in spite of the sadness, tragedies, and darkness which can seem overwhelming, we affirm with all of our hearts, life is good! Life is worth living.
St. Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!” Why would he say such a thing? Because St. Paul was pro-life. He knew and experienced life as a blessing. St. Peter says, “Though you do not see Jesus Christ, you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.” Why does St. Peter talk about unspeakable, exalted joy? Because in the truest sense possible, he was pro-life. He knew and experienced life as a gift from God, that life was worth living. When Jesus Christ walked on the face of the earth, he said, “I have come so that you may have life and have to the fullest.” In another place he says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Why does Jesus talk about the fullness of life and the fullness of joy being in us? Because no one who ever existed was as pro-life as Jesus Christ! If St. Paul were around today, he’d be marching with us up Constitution Avenue. If St. Peter were with us, he would be praying the rosary with us as we marched past the Supreme Court. And if Jesus were with us today . . . wait a second, he is with us! Our Lord promised us, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” How about where thirty or forty thousand are gathered in his name, here and at the Verizon Center? Do you not think that Jesus Christ is powerfully here with us? In a few minutes the most pro-life person who ever walked the earth, the Eternal Son of the Most High God, Jesus Christ Himself, will be present here among us to feed us with his Body and Blood, so that we might have life and have it to the fullest. Then He sends us out to march joyfully, to protest prayerfully, to give evidence to the world that life is good and we cannot deprive anyone of their God-given right to live.
For forty years, people have come to the nation’s capital to march, protesting our most unjust law, the law that made it legal to deprive the most innocent, vulnerable human person of his life. For forty years people have come here to march in some of the worst weather imaginable to proclaim that abortion is not good for mothers, that it is not good for fathers, that it is not good for families and that it is surely not good for children. Over these past forty years, our society has suffered, just like the Israelites suffered for forty years in the desert before entering the Promised Land. Let us pray, my brothers and sisters, that these forty years of marching, these forty years of protesting , these forty years of suffering have not been in vain; but that God may do with us, too, what he did with the Israelite people. He told the Israelites in the first reading, “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good country, a land with streams of water, with springs and fountains welling up in the hills and valleys.” He brought them into life. We pray that God may be doing the same in our own day, changing our Culture of Death into a Culture of Life.
Since 1973, when abortion was legalized, over 55,000,000 of our brothers and sisters have been deprived of life. 55,000,000: that’s enough people to fill 3,500 Comcast Centers. 55,000,000 have not seen the light of day. That would be like taking the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina and wiping them off the map. But, do you know what? If it weren’t for forty years of marching, forty years of praying, forty years of consoling, persuading, advising, reaching out, in a word, 40 years of being pro-life, that number would be so much higher. Many, many, many lives have been saved that could have been lost.
There was a young Mexican woman who met an Egyptian man. A romance quickly ensued between the two. Not long into the relationship, the woman anxiously approached her boyfriend to let him know that she was pregnant. His immediate response was that she must have an abortion. Something inside of her told her that this wasn’t right, but the man was not only insistent but abusive. After three months of a pregnancy filled with verbal and physical abuse, the woman finally consented to his demands for an abortion. She only asked that he accompany her to the abortion clinic. He was all too eager to do so. They drove together to the clinic on the day of the scheduled abortion. But this is where an all-too-familiar story takes a radical Holy Spirit inspired twist. As she was being carted back to the procedure room by an Hispanic nurse, she told her in Spanish that the man she was with wanted her to have an abortion, but that she didn’t want one. When they got into the room, she instructed the nurse, no one was to lay a hand on her. She told them to give her a sedative, though, to make it seem like she had the abortion. After she exited the room, she looked into her boyfriend’s eyes and told him, “I had the abortion, now I don’t want to ever see you again.” He was more than happy to comply. She took the bus home that day, and a few months later gave birth to a healthy little girl.
The reason why I know this story is because that little girl is my niece. My brother Kevin and his wife, who are unable to have children, adopted little Gabrielle Marie Wells, who is now eleven years old. And I don’t mean to embarrass Gabby, but she’s here today. She’s a beautiful young girl, who has a smile that lights up the room. She’s a voracious reader and excels at something at which I stunk, spelling bees. Gabby plays field hockey and is probably like any other eleven-year-old girl, with a Justin Bieber poster hung up on her wall . . . I pray to God she doesn’t have a Justin Bieber poster hung up on her wall. This much I know: that for someone of Mexican and Egyptian descent, she is the best darn Irish step dancer you’ve ever seen!
When the boyfriend first suggested an abortion, something inside of Gabby’s mother said, “That’s wrong.” Who knows if her parents taught her this, or if she heard it in church, or if it was the grace of the Holy Spirit; but what she sensed was completely true: all human life, from the first moment of conception is sacred. All human life from the first moment of conception is loved into existence by God. It does not matter in what difficult circumstances that life may have come about or what potential physical or mental problems that developing baby might have; all human life from the first moment of conception is sacred, holy, planned by God from all eternity. As Gabby’s mother remembered this in the midst of great turmoil, may we never forget this either, but fight that all people may recognize this fundamental truth as well.
Because of the heroism of her mother—and what she did was nothing less than heroic— Gabby has blessed the lives of so many others. She has been given the chance to experience what St. Paul and St. Peter encouraged us to rejoice in, and what Jesus came to give us the fullness of: life. My brothers and sisters, heroism was not just a choice that Gabby’s mother faced. You and I, all of us, are called to live heroic lives. To be a Catholic Christian in the midst of a very much anti-Catholic culture is heroic. Every one of you who makes the decision to save yourself until marriage for your future spouse is a hero. Every one of you who is discerning a life given completely over to God as a priest or religious brother or sister makes a heroic decision. This culture doesn’t produce many real heroes, but a lot of wimps. Dare to be different. Dare to let Jesus Christ determine how you are to live your relationships and to how you live your lives. He will challenge you to live differently, purely, to reject sexual immorality, but in the end you will be completely pro-life: someone who is joyful, someone who loves life and desires to receive the fullness of life that Christ promises. It is not easy to be a hero and you cannot do it alone, and that is why occasions like these are so important. Look how many are fighting for the same thing.
When we leave here to march today, we do so realizing that the vast majority of women who turn to abortion are in desperate situations. They find themselves many times in abusive situations, with tremendous fear and pressure upon them. We do not march today to demonize them or to condemn them. People who revert to abortion are not the enemy, nor are abortion doctors the enemy. No, they are merely the battleground of great spiritual battle between Death and Life. St. Paul says, “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” This is a spiritual battle that we face, a Culture of Death and Darkness that Satan proposes and a Culture of Life and Light that Christ invites us to. We cannot change the hearts and minds of the people of our nation without prayer. “With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit,” urges St. Paul. We are very much engaged in this spiritual battle, my brothers and sisters, and Christ needs us in it. Without prayer, without turning to Him first and foremost, we don’t stand a chance.
Our greatest spiritual weapon is the rosary. As a police officer always has his weapon at his side, each of us should have a rosary on us. If you’re not in the habit of praying the rosary, start getting in the habit now. When we see images of Mary, she’s crushing the head of the serpent, Satan. Christ has given her to us as a powerful intercessor, especially through the praying of the rosary. Mysteriously, this immense battle that we face as a culture hinges on our devotion to the Mother of Christ and the Mother of each one of us. Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared in the midst of a Culture of Death some 500 years ago, and through her powerful intercession the Aztec people, who practiced human sacrifice, were brought to faith in Jesus Christ. Here we are, 500 years later, and we continue pray through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe that our current Culture of Death may be brought to faith in Jesus Christ, the Life of the world.
Our Lady of Guadalupe: Pray for us!
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