The triumph of life.
Christ preached the Gospel of Life. St. John called Christ “the Word of life.” Lord Jesus called Himself “the way, the truth, and the life…the resurrection and the life.” He declared, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly…He who follows me will have the light of life.” St. Peter called Jesus “the Author of life.”
When Christ rose from the dead, He confirmed the truth of all this preaching. The Gospel of Life does not consist solely of words. The Gospel involves the divine power that conquered death–“the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” as St. Paul calls it.
We Christians, who believe and celebrate Christ’s sacraments—we live and breathe the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life. Pope St. John Paul II declared: the Church is the People of Life. We rejoice especially that our dear Elect will share in the Spirit of life through the sacraments of Christian initiation.
Now, sometimes I wish I could just do my priestly duties quietly and then watch basketball. Some people think we should observe Easter with no strife and strain—just smelling lilies, eating chocolate bunnies, relaxing.
If we had the luxury of living in stable and peaceful times, then maybe we could just sit down on a picnic blanket and eat ham and deviled eggs, instead of having to endure a sermon on touchy topics.
But we don’t live in peaceful and stable times. So we have to focus on what Christ’s triumph of life means for us as members of our beloved body politic. How does the People of Life fit in, in America?
Just two quotes from the newspaper. One presidential candidate insists that moving into the future means everyone accepting Roe v. Wade as “settled law.” Yes: Accept that unborn children have no rights, as “settled law.”
Now, how could we possibly reconcile that with what we know to be true? Christ rose from the dead that we might have life! He conquered death, so that all might live. How could we, the People of Life, ever accept abortion-on-demand as “settled law?” Impossible. No, this year and every year, we will stand up and fight for the innocent and defenseless unborn. Until the day when Roe v. Wade falls into the shameful dustbin of history, where it belongs.
Newspaper quote #2. A couple other presidential candidates in a different party insist that we must round up and deport all undocumented immigrants. Doesn’t matter that these deportations would leave countless American-born children fatherless and motherless. Round ‘em up and deport ‘em, no matter the human cost!
And does this supposed round-up have to do with ‘criminals?’ To the contrary. This involves our neighbors, good people who make up part of the fabric of life in America. Brothers and sisters in the Lord, in this very church.
So we have another obligation. The People of Life must not sit quietly by, while presidential candidates threaten our friends and neighbors with an inhuman reign of terror.
Let’s ask ourselves this: Do we live in a just society? A nation can claim to be just, can claim to be “great,” when the defenseless people living in it know they can count on others to stand up to protect their basic human rights.
Unborn babies. Law-abiding immigrants facing deportation. When these brothers and sisters are safe, then I promise I’ll preach lilies and bunnies that Easter.
We do not live in stable, peaceful times. But we do live by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
This is not just about how we will vote in the fall. It’s not for priests to tell people how to vote. I couldn’t tell you how to vote, even if I wanted to. This is about who we are, who God made us to be, the people we can have the courage to be.
May the Lord give us what it takes to fight for a country that we want to leave to our children. Let’s stand up for the innocent and defenseless. By doing so, we can help to make America the stable and peaceful place we want to live in.
After all, we, the People of Life, the holy Roman Catholic Church in America–we have a worthy leader. We always take our cues from Him, no matter who, or who isn’t, running for office. Our true leader is the man Who rose from the dead.