Youth Rally and Mass for Life 2014 – Text of Homily from the Verizon Center Mass
Homily given by Rev. Michael Paris
January 22, 2014
Good morning! My name is Fr. Michael Paris, and I’m from St Patrick’s Church in Rockville, Md. Let me ask you, who’s goin’ on only a few hours of sleep last night? Man you guys are heroic!
Hopefully the word of God woke us up a little. That first reading really hit me. God says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” I heard this same reading 2 1/2 years ago when I was being ordained a priest by my spiritual father, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. My mom was the one chosen to do the reading. Now she’s like 4’2″, and she climbed up that huge staircase at the Basilica in D.C. and read those words, she sounded like: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” While she was reading, I lost it. I started crying because God was telling me through my mom that he knew me from when I was in her womb, that he loved me and had a purpose for me, even to make me a priest. And if you only knew what an awful teenager I was and what my mom had to go through with me, and yet, God still loved me, and always had a plan for me. So if you are ever mean to your mom, relax. It just means that you’re gonna be a priest or a nun one day!
God knows us before we were in the womb. That means he wants us to be here, no matter how hard the situation may be. We are not accidents, amen! Pope Benedict had a great way of putting it a few years back:
“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”
And how do we know God loves us and has a plan for each of us? Because he became one of us, he became an unborn baby in the Virgin Mary’s womb! Why would he do this? Well let me ask you, raise your hand if you had a pet when you were little? Did you ever get on all fours and want to become like your pet and see the world like it does?
My brother had this turtle, its name was Stoney. My brother loved Stoney. He would get on all fours with him, play with him, and hug him and roll around. Kind of strange, huh? But my brother loved Stoney and so wanted to be like him.
God is like that. He loved us so much that he wanted to become like us. He wanted to feel what we feel and see what we see, to know the joys and sorrows of our life, and to even suffer the pain of our sins and die on the cross. Because his love for us is so intense, God’s Son became a man in Jesus Christ.
The fact that God became like you means that He loves each of you personally and no matter who you are, no matter how many sins you’ve committed, He has a plan for you. No one is an accident, no one is disposable. God’s word says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you!” Amen!
So that’s why we protect life, that’s why we stand up for our unborn brothers and sisters. Because the Son of God became one of them. He loves each baby in the womb and has a plan for their life, no matter how hard a situation they might come from.
Pope Francis recently said:
“Every child not allowed to be born, but unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ…”
Each unborn child has the face of Jesus Christ! Amen!
I believe God wants to use us to end abortion, how? By helping the world see that God has a plan for each life, that everyone is loved by God because each person has the face of Jesus. If people believed that, they would never think that killing a child could be an option. But before we can help anyone else believe this, we have to know this ourselves. So I ask you, Do you believe that God loves you, that he became a man and died for you? Do you believe He has a plan for your life? If you know this with all your heart, give me an amen! Abortion cannot stand if each person believes this.
But how can we help the world around us understand? We are so young, so weak, the culture of death is so strong. God told us the answer in that first reading.
“Say not, ‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”
So we got this! The Holy Spirit will give us everything we need to make this happen. But we must have no doubt that “God loves me, God has a plan for me, so I got this.”
Say that with me “God loves me, God has a plan for me, so I got this”…again “God loves me, God has a plan for me, so I got this.”
Whether you are a courageous Cardinal, or a shy middle schooler, you got this. The Holy Spirit will give us everything we need. We can help the world understand that no one is an accident, all have a purpose and are loved because each person has the face of Jesus Christ. And if people believe that, then abortion cannot stand. But we can only convince others of this if we know deep down, with absolute certainty, say it with me, “God loves me, God has a plan for me, so I got this!” Amen!
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