Saturday, January 22, 2011

Respect For Life

Early on in the pontificate of John Paul II, he referenced our society as a "Culture of Death." To be sure the convenience of abortion and birth control, but our discussion easing the elderly and chronically ill into dying. In addition to these life issues, we hardly flinch any more when there are reports of shootings and killing in our urban areas. Back in the early 80s I had gone to a pro-life workshop in which the speaker suggested that more comfortable we become with abortion, the more we will look favorably on other sorts of killing. And that is where we are today.

The pro abortion people like bringing out the stories of poor woman forced to have children, or into dank back-alley establishments which jeopardize the life of the woman. In actuality it is medium to upper level income woman that are more likely to procure an abortion. Further, they will challenge that abortion should be left as it is, especially for situations of rape and incest. In reality the pregnancies resulting from these scenarios are about 1% of all pregnancies.

We have to go back to the beginning. The Genesis story needs to be burned into our minds. God declares all creation as good. God sends his spirit into all men and women and we need to remember that we are created in His image and likeness. From womb till tomb, we are sacred and filled with God's grace and blessings. All men and women share in the same dignity. I like using the image that we are tabernacles, holding the sacred within us.

Understanding that we are deserving of dignity and respect, that changes how we interact with each other, and respond to the challenges of our lives. Persons from the very moment of conception should be treated with a sense of reverence. This means all of the time and not just when it is convenient or expedient. Look at the holy men and women who have devoted their lives serve peoples who are poor or distressed. Their works help us understand how important it is to honor the human being, in whatever state he or she is in.

In the Gospel for today, the family and friends of Jesus believe that he has had a mental breakdown. As Christians, when we stand for the dignity and respect of all life we are assumed to be a bunch of "crazies." The mission and ministry of Jesus, and the values of sacred scripture, call us to be a counter-cultural people. We continue to pray, work, and speak-up, on the issues of life and respect of life. Our world tends to look at people as commodities. We need to re-assert our humanity into the discussion.

The challenge of our faith is to be that stumbling block for the peoples who abuse or violate the sanctity of life. Our precious gift of life needs to be nurtured as the holiness of God's gift to each and every one of us.

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