Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Homily - "Loving (your) life!"

Yesterday, I celebrated the wedding Mass of a couple I have known from the start of their relationship. Eight years ago when they were in high school, their families and a few others joined me for Eucharistic Adoration once a week during Lent.  I knew how she felt about him because...well, all the girls were in love with him. I didn't know how he felt about her until last year when they were providentially reunited at a bar...God is cool like that! They started dating; their first date was at Mass! They fell in love, and they asked me to do their wedding.  It was such a beautiful wedding.

One of the things that I said at their wedding is what I say at every wedding: when God created you, He had your wedding day in mind.  When God conceives any of us, He has our vocation in mind.  We hear a lot about calling and vocation in today's readings. And, marriage is a vocation! What we hear from the prophet Isaiah serves as the basis for what I was saying: "The Lord formed me as his servant from the womb". It is from the womb that God forms us as a servant, husband, wife, priest, and nun.  There is so much at work in the womb! God has created a body and a soul.  One priest said that the world is changed forever when someone who didn't exist is created...and lives forever.

Looking ahead to this Wednesday, what God says through Isaiah is one of the main reasons we attend the March for Life.  We recognize that God is at work in the womb. So many more young people are pro-life now because they see what we have believed for so long: that life begins at conception. Technology shows that there is DNA at conception, a heartbeat at 17 days, and brain waves at 21 days. God has created a little baby...a little person.

It was estimated that 650,000 people attended the March last year, most of whom were young.  They come from all over the country to celebrate and defend life, and make many sacrifices to attend. I am asking each of you to make a sacrifice or two for life on Wednesday.  If this means missing a class or two (that big sacrifice!) and making up the work, please do it.  It is one of the best days of the year as a Catholic!

One of the most inspiring groups at the March is women who have had abortions and are now pro-life. They regret their choice (sometimes it's not even a choice for women because they are forced into it).  My guess is that most of them have received healing from the Lord through the Church.  I ask you to be open to this.  If you or a friend has had an abortion, please come to me...for healing and mercy.  Not judgment, but the Lord's mercy.  Please be open to that.

So, there is a lot going on with conception.  Conversely, there is a lot going on against conception.  I ask you to be open to a CD that I've brought tonight.  It's called, "Contraception: Why Not" by Dr. Janet Smith.  You get inundated with so much information and resources for contraception, so it's good to get some from the other side...to level the playing field somewhat.  I have many copies of this CD tonight and ask you to take one and listen to it.  It is excellent.  It is chalked full of really good information of how contraceptives affect women, relationships, and marriages.  Her talk has been around for the past 20 years or so, but this latest version has updated info that I didn't even know. Like, during a woman's cycle, she says that fertility lasts only 12 hours...12 hours! And, the pill can affect the type of men women attract. Studies have shown that women who use chemical contraceptives don't attract the men that they want, but do attract the ones they don't want.  There is also a probable link between divorce and contraception. Before contraception became widespread in the 60s, the divorce rate was 25%; ten years later it was 50%. I know that you all want to prepare for marriage and not divorce, so you want to know if there is an alternative to the 1 in 2 divorce chance.  She offers an alternative: Natural Family Planning.  The divorce rate among couples who use NFP is less than 5%.

I am offering all this to you to give you every resource possible to make informed choices...to make good choices...choices that will bear fruit.  God says it's not enough just to be a servant, but to be a light.  I want you to be lights.  I want you to be fruitful in your vocations. I try to give you the best resources and information...as well as everything I have.  If you come by Newman at 11 or 12 at night, chances are that my light will be on and door open.  If I were to close my door at 9 pm and say, 'no more students, no more kids ', that would be spiritual contraception.  But, I am open to your life and won't you to shine like a light.  I love your light! I love your life!

Finally, one other thing I say at each wedding: if you want a fruitful marriage, center your new life together on the Eucharist. If we want to know the best resource for bearing fruit, John the Baptist points it out in today's Gospel: "Behold, the Lamb of God".  Jesus promises many fruits from the Eucharist.  It is the best way to do God's Will, to live holiness, to find our vocations and to live them out fruitfully.  It is the best way to be the people that God created us to be.

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