Monday, January 18, 2010

2nd Sunday - homily

We have several big events coming up in the next month; I want to tell you about them and ask you to sign up for them after Mass. First, we have the March for Life this Friday. I’ll talk about that in a minute. Second, we are going on a ski trip on Saturday, January 30. It will be night skiing at Whitetail in Pennsylvania (about an hour and a half away) and should be a lot of fun. The cost is $50 which covers ski rentals, lift ticket, and transportation. Third, tonight is the last chance to sign up for Alternative Spring Break. We’ll work on homes for low-income families in South Carolina. From what I’ve heard, this is a really cool week. Last, we are having a retreat from February 12-14 which is open to all GW students. It is also $50. We’ll go down to Southern Maryland for the weekend. The theme is “No Greater Love”. Some of you have asked when you can sign-up for the retreat, so it begins now. Please email Meg if you are interested. We have information about all of these events in our bulletin which you can pick up after Mass.

Last week, I told you that we are asking you to take this Friday off and skip classes. This is not a joke! Thousands of college students across the country are taking Friday off for a good cause: the annual March for Life. For those of you who have been to the March, you know it’s a great day. It’s one of my favorite days of the year. There will be hundreds of thousands of people coming to DC from around the country, many of whom are college students. Many of these students will travel hundreds of miles, sleep on floors, and go without showers for a few days. It’s incredible. There will be about 50 students from Hillsdale College crashing at the Newman Center on Thursday night, sleeping on the floor, all crammed in. This is the spirit and sacrifice that so many young people bring to the March.

Our events for the March begin Thursday night with a Holy Hour for Life from 8:30 to 9:30 at the Newman Center chapel. Then, on Friday, we’ll offer you two options for Mass. You can go with Meg who will be taking a group of you to the Verizon Center for a rally and Mass for life. There will be about 25,000 young people there. It rocks! It’s a really spectacular experience. After Mass, that group will come back to the Newman Center for lunch. You can either do that or join me for Mass at the Newman Center at 12:45. After Mass, we will all have lunch together and then walk down to the March on the Mall. So, we have two sign-ups tonight – one is for the Verizon Center Rally and Mass and the other is for the Newman Center Mass. Either way, you’ll get lunch and it’s all free of charge. We need you to sign up so that we know how much food to get for lunch.

What’s this all about? Why do we march for life? We march because we believe very firmly in the sanctity of life. We believe that every human life is sacred, created by God in His image and likeness. We believe that what we hear in the first reading applies to every person: that every one of us, especially young people, is God’s “delight”. God has infinite love and places infinite value on every person. And, this begins in the womb. We hear it mentioned several times in Scripture that God knows us, forms us, and loves us in the womb. We believe that life begins in the womb, specifically at conception. This has been confirmed by science and modern technology. Science has made it irrefutable that life begins at conception and technology helps us to see that the little baby in the womb is a person with hands, feet, brain waves, heartbeat, etc. The baby in the womb is a person…a person with rights. The most basic human right is the right to life.

When this right is taken away, we “will not be silent”, we “will not be quiet” as the prophet Isaiah says in the first reading. We speak up for those who have no voice. We defend those who are defenseless…i.e., those in the womb. We will do this on Friday, basically saying “enough!” There are almost 4,000 abortions in the United States every day and about 50 million since 1973 when abortion became legal in our country. Enough!

Two of the most impressive groups at the March are young people and women who have had abortions. These are repentant mothers who regret the choice they made and are now atoning for their sin by being very active in the pro-life movement. If you all know of anyone (especially at GW) who has participated in an abortion, please tell them that the Catholic Church offers mercy and healing. The Church offers more post-abortive healing than any other private institution in the world. Please tell them to come see me. I will offer them mercy, healing, and counseling. I can refer them to Project Rachel which does so much good in our area for women who have had abortions. I have their brochures in the back of Church tonight. It’s so important that people know that forgiveness and healing are available to them. No sin is greater than God’s infinite mercy.

Why should you all go to the March? Quite simply, God is calling you to go. First, because it’s right here! It’s right down the street from where you go to college. One of the reasons you go to GW is for events like the March for Life. More importantly, God is calling young people to join the movement. And, not just to join, but to lead the movement. You will see on Friday how many college students (your peers) are leading the cause. It’s unbelievable! So many people of your generation get it. They get it! They get it that abortion is the greatest injustice of our time, that they could have been aborted (thank God their mothers and your mothers chose life), and that there is a battle going on all around them. There is a conflict going on all around you - the conflict between good and evil, God and the world, between what is said in here and what is said out there. Jesus says, “you’re either with us or you’re against us”. You’re either pro-life or you’re not. He is calling you to be with Him for life on Friday and beyond. He is calling you not to be silent, not to be quiet, not to be paralyzed with fear, and not to be “pro-life, but…” He is calling you to be pro-life period and to be active and passionate for life. He will give you the strength and courage to stand up for what’s right. He will give the grace to do what He is calling you to do.

Finally, as we prepare to receive the Grace of the Eucharist, there is a challenge for you all for Friday from this Gospel : “do whatever he tells you”. You might talk to people about going to the March and they might tell you not to go. It might be friends, classmates, or maybe even family. They are telling you what the world tells you. Don’t do whatever they tell you. Do whatever Jesus tells you. He is telling you to stand up for what’s right, to speak for those who have no voice, and to defend those who can’t defend themselves. He knows it’s hard to be pro-life in college but He will give you courage and strength. He has great confidence that you will rise to the challenge. I have great confidence that you will rise to the challenge. We have great confidence that for Friday and for the rest of your lives you will not be afraid and will do whatever He tells you.

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