08 October 2012

Respect Life, Become Gospel People

Yesterday, Sunday, October 7th, was Respect Life Sunday, and across the country, if not the world, bishops, priests, deacons and countless others spoke on this matter.  In Midland, there was a Life Chain that formed between Illinois and Ohio Streets along a busy stretch of Andrews Highway. Other cities had similar displays in support of life.  Hearing about Respect Life Sunday, however, can sometimes produce or arouse one or several misconceptions connected to such a name.  Respect Life is not just about anti-abortion, it is about the dignity of every human being from conception to natural death.  It is a recognition that beyond creed or belief, every one of us is a Beloved child of God. It is a plea to come face to face with our brother, or our sister and recognize each other not as Muslim or Jew, Catholic or Protestant, but indeed, as Brother and Sister.  Respect Life  is about being able to recognize who we are in God's eyes and to stand arm in arm as we work for the defense of those whose voices will not, or cannot be heard.  All too often, sensitive issues in our society are either politicized or glossed over with a delicacy that refuses to recognize the urgency of the situation we face.  Today, we are invited to think about this urgency as we regard life and living conditions for many or the lack thereof.  You see, more and more, life, and in fact, each of us, is losing the God-given dignity and importance that is granted us beyond even political borders.  More and more, there is a loss of our image as beloved children of God which in turn has serious consequences, including a breakdown of the family, a loss of childhood at a quicker pace, and all too often, an anger about what "I can do with my own body!"  And as choices take on more severe realities, the dignity of the human self is being diminished, slowly chipping away with every new "option" that is brought to market.  Increasingly,  instead of possessing an understanding of who we are in God's eyes, we fall victim to the latest trends and fashions, to the latest thing that "makes my life easier," without thinking how it may affect others.  We are seduced by the latest medical procedures and have no trouble in justifying our "choices."  Life is much more, MUST be much more than just one or the other issue, and I would dare say, that issue isn't even the correct term to be used.  Rather, life is about a gift that each of us is freely given, the gift of Creator God whose infinite and overflowing love calls us into being.  A gift of ever-redeeming love offered to us through Christ's own sacrifice, it is a gift that the Spirit grants us each day as we face new and ever increasing challenges in our lives, a gift that sanctifies us and strengthens us to keep walking with heads held high and our hearts firmly rooted in God.  And so, as we commemorate Respect Life, we are not called to "fight" against one thing or another, but to become Gospel People.  People who know and love God and who live in love, not just for those we care for, but for all.  It is about being able to root out those evils, that can so easily help us rationalize our own destruction, by living the Gospel message that will always bring us into life. It is about living no longer for ourselves, but for and in Christ, because ultimately,  it will be there, in the love of God, that we will not only find our home, but indeed, where life will be respected and granted.  As always, know that you are loved.  Fr. Rick

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