Homily from the New York Pilgrim Mass at the March for Life: United in Faith
Can I tell you how proud I am of you, how very much I appreciate your prophetic witness on behalf of innocent babies in their mother’s wombs, how honored I am to lead you in this great prayer of the Mass this bracing pro-life March day!
Now can I ask you to think hard about one phrase from the Bible that we just heard in our reading: united in faith.
united in faith.
That’s why we are here at Mass; that’s what we will be in a couple hours as we march: united in faith
united in faith that the baby in the womb has the human right to life, protected by our constitution;
united in faith that the termination of that baby’s life is the same as, in the analogy used by Pope Francis “a mafia don hiring a hit man to get rid of someone he considers inconvenient”;
united in faith that a pregnant woman deserves dignity, reverence, and all the support and love she needs to welcome her baby at birth;
united in faith that Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life,” our savior who came that “we might have life, life to the fullest,” who assured us that “as long as you do it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters” – – and who is more “least” today than the tiny, fragile baby in the womb? – – “you did it to me . . .”
united in faith that this Jesus is here with us and blesses our noble endeavors.
This Jesus calls us
“They” will tell us we pro-lifers are all alone, in the minority, isolated by media, Hollywood, academia, the capitol and courtrooms. They will tell us we have no friends!
We look around this morning and wonder, “What are they talking about?”
Well look around in a couple of hours as we’re part of a crowd over ¼ million, what U.S. Park Service officials report as the largest annual march consistently for four decades – – even though the news will skip it, or give more attention to the couple dozen pro-abortionists – – and acknowledge that we have friends.
Name four friends who would carry your bed
where paralyzed from sole to head
you lie with pangs and scars outstretched.
Name four friends who would plan and plot
to land you near the sacred spot:
the Healer’s Hands, the Feet of God.
That’s the poem “Unparalyzed” by Rita Simmons, featured in today’s Magnificat, as she meditates on the four friends who helped the paralytic reach Jesus through the roof of the synagogue.
Name four friends who would brace the crowd
that surrounds the space when the Word is out,
to raise your ruins above the house.
Name four friends who would crack the thatch
then ease your limbs into the gap
and slow the lift, your lowered mat.
Name four friends who would hold the line
from the opened roof to the Master’s side
where you lie and wait for a healing sign.
Name four friends who would fix their gaze
on the Man who cures and the man who’s saved.
while the crowds disperse,
the friendship stays . . .
united in faith, we have friends!
We acknowledge as well that, well, we have enemies . . .
They detest us . . . we love them;
They curse us . . . we bless them;
They mock us . . . we pray for them;
We invite them to a coalition to at least lower the number of abortions; to set reasonable limits, as the last Marist poll shows 75% of Americans want; to work with us to protest the choice . . . yes, the choice of a woman to have her baby, with sensible counseling, sonograms, and the provision of all the support a mom needs to hold her newborn, and they say no.
They are ready now to pop the champagne corks in Albany as the state already notorious as the most radical abortion state in the union feels driven to expand it even more, dropping the need for only physicians to perform them – – so much for the “health of the woman” – – and allowing a baby who survives the scalpel, scissors, suction machine, and saline solution to die without any help.
This is the culture of death, no longer a hyperbole . . . and they too have unity and friends.
They bristle at our perseverance, our resilience, our youth, our triumphs however few. They will outspend us, out lobby us, caricature us, and hope to outlaw us.
They want to paralyze us. Well, they cringe further when we smile and love and tell them we welcome paralysis . . . for we are then that paralytic with the four friends who lowers us for healing and strength to our best friend, Jesus, who says to us, “Rise, stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”