Respect Life Sunday (OCT 3, 2021) Homily -1-page summary(L/21)
Facts on attacks on human life: a) Abortion: The number of unborn children slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers in the last 25 years is 1200 million in the world and 37 million in the USA. (4400 per day in the US). Almost half of the women in the US over the age of 40 have undergone an abortion, with or without the consent of the baby’s father. b) Euthanasia: Hundreds of old or terminally ill people are killed in advanced countries under the names “mercy-killing” or euthanasia. c) Suicides and Physician-Assisted Suicides: Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all US men. It took the lives of 30,622 people in USA. in 2001. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-19-year-old youngsters (19 adolescents each day), and only 5% of suicides are attributed to mental illness. d) Homicides e) Embryo-destruction for scientific experiments.
Why should we respect life? 1) TheBible teaches that life is a gift of God and, hence, we have to respect it from womb to tomb. Abortion attempts to destroy a work of God. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child, from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb, is precious because it carries an immortal soul. 2)It is God’s commandment that we shall not kill. (Ex 20:13: “You shall not kill”). The circumstances of the baby’s conception do not change the evil of abortion: it is still a baby who is killed. Every tiny human embryo can grow into a child, and modern medical technology can enable it to survive outside its mother’s womb after five and a half months. 3) International Law forbids the killing of innocent, defenseless people. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless child in its safest abode, the womb, by its own mother, mostly for selfish motives. 4)Abortion harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. 93% of the abortions in America are for convenience. The mother’s health is an issue only 3% of the time, and the baby’s health is an issue 3% of the time. Rape and incest are issues only 1% of the time. Ninety-three percent of all abortions in America are performed because of selfishness, just because someone doesn’t want a child! 5) Advocates of pro-choice follow a dangerous principle of far-reaching consequences in the society. If it is justifiable to kill unwanted children by abortion, then the old, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, and the retarded can also be killed – and so can any member of a “socially/politically unacceptable” minority!
Life messages: 1) We need to respect and protect all forms of human life from conception to natural death; we need to work and pray vigorously to end the culture of death.
2) We need to speak and act against abortion in private and in the public forum. Protecting human life is no more a sectarian creed than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian document. Because all rights depend on life, the right to life is the most fundamental issue of all; if that is eliminated, the rest will follow.
3) We need to work to have the government enact anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, and anti-Physician-assisted suicide laws; these killings violate justice, and, therefore, the command of God to love one another. 4) We need to give real care, support, and assistance to mothers with unwanted pregnancies who are contemplating abortion. Helping a woman choose life affirms and empowers her. 5) We need to teach the Church’s doctrines on abortion. The Church cares about the women who have had abortions, forgives them, heals them, and brings them peace with God, with their lost children, and with themselves. The Church reminds us that abortion is a mortal sin but promises any woman who has had an abortion that if she truly repents of her sin, she will find welcome and forgiveness.
RESPECT FOR LIFE SUNDAY (Oct 3) (Sanctity of human life Sunday)
Homily Starter Anecdotes # 1:Thou shall not kill.” A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five- and six-year-olds. After explaining the commandment “Honor thy father and thy mother,” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, “Thou shall not kill.” This is the main message for “Respect for Life Sunday.”
#2: Two dark days in American history: March 6, 1857, was a very dark day in American history. By a 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court declared that Afro-Americans were not legal persons. Rather, they were property. They could be used, sold, beaten, and even killed. Slavery was upheld. In 1868, fortunately, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution secured the rights of blacks to full personhood. Slavery was overturned, and the equality of all people before the law was upheld. Notice, the law did not GIVE blacks this equality. They always had it! God made them equal. What happened in the 14th Amendment was that the law recognized the rights the slaves had from God; human law was brought into line with God’s law. But another dark day came on January 22, 1973. By another 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court said that this 14th Amendment DOES NOT APPLY to children in the first nine months of life, that is, the nine months they live in their mother’s wombs. Therefore, during this time – that is, during ALL the nine months of pregnancy – the court said that a mother might end the life of her child by abortion. By this Roe vs. Wade decision, abortion was made legal in all 50 states.
Facts and figures: a) Abortion: The number of unborn children slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers in the last 25 years is 1200 million in the world and 37 million in the U.S.A. (4400 per day in the U.S.). Almost half of women in the US over the age of 40 have undergone an abortion, with or without the consent/insistence of the baby’s father. (The number of people killed on 9/11/2001 is not quite 3000. During the dictatorship of Hitler some 6 million Jews lost their lives in 12 years).
b) Euthanasia: Hundreds of old or terminally ill people are killed in advanced countries, under the names “mercy-killing” or euthanasia.
c) Suicides and Physician-Assisted Suicides: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide, and only 5% of suicides are attributed to mental illness.
d) Homicides: While the murder rate for 100,000 people is 6.2% in the world, it is 16.3% in the U.S.A., 3% in Europe and 2.9% in Asia.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate)
e) Embryo-destruction for scientific experiments. (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/stem-cell-research/human-embryo-research-is-illegal-immoral-and-unnecessary.cfm)
Why should we respect life?
1) The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God, and, hence, we have to respect it from womb to tomb. Abortion attempts to destroy a work of God. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child, from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb, is precious because it carries an immortal soul. In reference to pregnant women, the term “with child” occurs twenty-six times in the Bible. The term “with fetus” never occurs. The Bible never uses anything less than human terms to describe the unborn (Ex 21:22-23). In Lk 1:36, 41, we are told that Elizabeth conceived a “son” and that the “babe” leaped in her womb. God does not say that a “fetus” leaped in her womb! Elizabeth greets Mary (in her early pregnancy) as ‘my Lord’s mother.” If God allows a child to be conceived, then God obviously has a plan for unborn children (Jer 1:5; Lk 1:13-17; Gn 4:25; Jgs 13:3-5), and so to abort an unborn child is to stop a plan of God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you..” (Jer 1:5). “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, so wonderfully You made me; wonderful are Your works!” Ps 139:13-14.
2)It is God’s commandment that we shall not kill. (Ex 20:13: “You shall not kill”). The circumstances in which the baby was conceived do not change the evil of abortion: it is still a baby who is killed. Every tiny human embryo can only grow into a child, and modern medical technology can enable it to survive outside its mother’s womb after five-and-a-half months. At two weeks pregnancy, the baby can move alone. The baby’s heart starts beating from the 25th day and its brain starts functioning on the 40th day. Unfortunately, the Jews still consider that life begins after birth. No wonder, many Jews are for choice. Dt 27:25 says, “Cursed be he that takes reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen,” andabortion involves the shedding of innocent blood. In abortion by suction, the unborn child is literally vacuumed from the mother’s womb during the early stages of pregnancy. In the currette-type abortion the child is cut from the mother’s womb with a spoon-like object. In the caesarean type abortion, the baby is surgically removed from the mother and allowed to suffocate, because the child’s lungs aren’t developed. In the Salt Brine technique, the unborn child is literally “pickled” to death by the injection of a strong salt solution. In partial-birth abortion the child is partially delivered, then stabbed in the skull to have his or her brains sucked out. RU-486 abortion pills inhibit pregnancy hormones and 1-7 weeks old child is evicted from the womb. Hence, all types of abortions are violations of the fifth commandment.
3) International Law forbids the killing of innocent, defenseless people. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless child in its safest abode by its own mother, mostly for selfish motives.
4) Abortion harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. 93% of the abortions in America are for convenience. The mother’s health is an issue only 3% of the time, and the baby’s health is an issue 3% of the time. Rape and incest are issues only 1% of the time. Ninety-three percent of all abortions in America are performed because of selfishness, just because someone doesn’t want a child!
5) Advocates of pro-choice follow a dangerous principle of far-reaching consequences in society. If it is justifiable to kill unwanted children by abortion, then the old, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the retarded and the “socially/politically unacceptable” can also be killed.
1) We need to respect and protect all forms of human life from conception to natural death; we need to work and pray vigorously to end the culture of death.
2) We need to speak and act against abortion in private and public forums. Protecting human life is no more a sectarian creed than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian document. Because all rights depend on life, the right to life is the most fundamental issue of all; if that is eliminated, the rest will follow.
3) We need to work to have the government enact anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, and anti-Physician-assisted suicide laws; these killings violate justice, and therefore the command of God to love one another.
4) We need to give real care, support, and assistance to mothers with unwanted pregnancies, contemplating abortion. Helping a woman choose life affirms and empowers her.
5) We need to teach the Church’s doctrines on abortion. The Church cares about the women who have had abortions, forgives them when they repent, heals them, and brings them peace with God, with their lost children, and with themselves. The Church promises any woman who has had an abortion that if she truly repents of her sin, and confesses it in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, she will find welcome and forgiveness. Sacramental confession is necessary, because abortion (the murder of the child conceived), is a mortal sin, and it brings an automatic excommunication upon those who procure it, perform it, or cooperate in it.
Additional anecdotes: 1) Pro-abortion media: British lawmakers are reviewing the country’s pro-abortion laws. The review came about after publication of pictures of babies as young as twelve weeks stretching and kicking in the womb. Carl Sandburg wrote, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” Yet, almost one-third of respondents to The New York Times poll favor legal abortion. Is the pro-life position so weak that many cannot accept it? The answer is negative, but most of the national media favor abortion, and many readers accept journalists’ opinions as infallible. The Los Angeles Times published a study on national newspapers by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Here are some conclusions. Most major newspapers support abortion on their editorial pages – the Los Angeles Times among them. 80 to 90% of US journalists favor abortion rights. If one is for unborn human life, one is called an extremist. It is not “politically correct,” according to most newspapers, to be pro-life. There is more defense for owls, whales, and seals. Mark Twain says correctly, “We revere all forms of life except human.” Incidentally, do not be intimidated by the fact 80 to 90% of US journalists are for abortion; 80 to 90% of German journalists were for Hitler! The overwhelming majority of Germans took their cue from journalists and supported Hitler. One consequence was the murder of eleven million civilians, primarily Jews, in infamous concentration camps. Only one-third of the colonists supported the American Revolution in the 18th century. Abolitionists in the 19th century never numbered more than 100,000. The vast majority of our citizens could not imagine a country without the British king or slavery. A few could and changed the USA forever. (Fr. Gilhooley).
Papal statements: 1) The Church opposes abortion but embraces with mercy those who have made this mistake. Let’s all take encouragement from these words of Pope St. John Paul II: “I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly, what happened was, and remains, terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement, and do not lose hope. Try, rather, to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and to His mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.” (Evangelium Vitae, #99).
2)”It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” (Evangelium Vitae).
3) Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.74 God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”75 (CCC # 2271,Note: 74Didache; 75 Vatican II ,Gaudium et Spes, 51, 3)
4) “Through the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God confirmed the dignity of the body and soul that constitute the human being” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dignitas Personae, 7).
“Human history shows, however, how man has abused and can continue to abuse the power and capabilities that God has entrusted to him, giving rise to various forms of unjust discrimination and oppression of the weakest and most defenseless; the daily attacks on human life; the existence of large regions of poverty where people are dying from hunger and disease and the many [wars and] conflicts that still divide peoples and cultures. These, sadly, are only some of the most obvious signs of how man can make bad use of his abilities and [lose] the awareness of his lofty and specific vocation to collaborate in the creative work of God” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dignitas Personae, 36).
“We must, then, dear friends, be continuously vigilant to protect the dignity of human life at every turn – in our homes, our schools, our places of work and recreation, and our halls of justice and legislation. Our times call for nothing less than our determined commitment to ‘the energetic promotion of a new culture of life’” (Dignitas personae, 36). (Cardinal Justin Regali, “Respect Life Mass: Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, October 4, 2009).
In every voice raised in defense of life, “there shines a great ‘yes’ to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dignitas Personae, 37).
5) Pope St. John Paul II: “Together, may we offer this world of ours new signs of hope and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love” (Evangelium Vitae, 6). Pope St. John Paul II is an example of the Church’s conversion in its pro-life stance: “To choose life involves rejecting every form of violence, the violence of poverty and hunger, the violence of armed conflict, the violence of criminal trafficking in drugs and arms, the violence of mindless damage to the natural environment.”
6) Pope Francis on abortion: Pope Francis on Sunday couldn’t have been firmer in calling it a “very grave sin” and a “horrendous crime.” “I was thinking on the attitude of sending the kids back before they’re born, this horrendous crime, they send them back because it’s better like that, because it’s more comfortable, it’s a great responsibility- a very grave sin,” The comments came in an interview with the Italian Catholic media outlets TV2000 and Blu Radio, released on Sunday after the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy (8 December 2015-20 November 2016).
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
#2270. “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.’ – Jer 1:5. ‘My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.’- Ps 139:15.”
#2271. “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. [Didache<!–[if gte vml 1]> 2, 2: SCh 248, 148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19, 5: PG 2, 777; Ad Diognetum 5, 6: PG 2, 1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL 1, 319-320.] God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. [GS 51 # 3.]”
#2272. “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. ‘ A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae‘ [CIC, can. 1398] — ‘by the very commission of the offense,’ [CIC, can. 1314.] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324.] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”
#2274. “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, ‘if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safeguarding or healing as an individual…. It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.’ [CDF, Donum vitae I, 2.]”
#2322. “From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a ‘criminal’ practice (GS 27 # 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.”
Biblical teaching that the unborn child is a human child (Fr. Jose Panthaplamthottyil CMI)
Since October is Respect Life Month, I am giving below some of the Bible verses which remind us that an unborn child is a human being. In Psalm 139 the psalmist writes, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well(13). Job has the same perspective. He says, “Your hands shaped me and made me… Remember that You molded me like clay…You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit” (Job 10:8-12). In the Book of 2 Maccabees this is how a mother talks about life in the womb: “I do not know how you appeared in my womb; it was not I who endowed you with breath and life, I had not the shaping of your every part. It was the Creator of the world Who made everyone and ordained the origin of all things” (2 Maccabees 7:22). Jeremiah was called by God to become his prophet while he was still in the womb of his mother. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). The Prophet Isaiah writes, “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name” (Isaiah 49:1). Paul the apostle had the conviction his call came while he was still in the womb of his mother. He writes, “God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace…” (Galatians 1:15). Remember what happened when Mary went to visit Elizabeth and greeted her. In the Gospel of St. Luke we read, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb. But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (1:41-43). The word of God does not say a ‘fetus’ leaped in her womb; instead it says “a baby!” In the case of Mary, she was only in the early weeks of her pregnancy! However, Elizabeth acknowledged Mary “as the mother of my Lord!”
Prayer to End Abortion: Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, Yet, I rejoice that You have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen! L/21
INTERCESSORY PRAYERS FOR RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY 2021
1 – For all newborn babies: that they may teach us the consummate beauty and value of every human life; we pray to the Lord:
2 – For newly married couples: that their love for each other may nourish their Faith and strengthen their commitment to do God’s will; we pray to the Lord:
3 – That all government leaders may recognize and promote the inalienable right to life of every person from conception to natural death; we pray to the Lord:
4 – For those who await death in prisons, in hospitals, and at home: that we may remember them in prayer, beg God’s mercy for their sins, and love them as Christ loves us; we pray to the Lord:
5 – For those who, like Simeon and Anna, have grown old: that we may treasure their lives and rejoice in their presence; we pray to the Lord:
6 – That like the Good Samaritan, we may seek to serve the weakest and most forgotten, and preserve the lives of those threatened by violence or selfishness; we pray to the Lord:
7 – For every woman who has had an abortion: that she may be given the grace to embrace the mercy of God and know healing, strength, and holiness; we pray to the Lord:
8 – For those who work for the healing of mothers and their children: that God may strengthen their resolve and make their hands gentle, yet strong; we pray to the Lord:
9 – For all who work for the Gospel of Life and especially for those who teach: for patient endurance and joy; we pray to the Lord:
Respect life Sunday resources: visit these very useful resources:
5) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0902.asp (In support of life)
6) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0995.asp (Gospel of life)
7)http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0798.asp(Ethics of life)
8) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0898.asp (Church teaching on abortion)
9) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0009fea4.asp (This is my body argument)
10 ) Extensive resources : http://emmerich1.com/ABORTION.htm
11) Abortion library: http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/topics/abortion/keypubs.asp
RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY by USCCB (resources)
Visit http://www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/2017/ for the following:
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B (No. 52) by Fr. Tony:akadavil
Visit my website by clicking on https://frtonyshomilies.com/
Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies under CBCI or Fr. Tony for my website version. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website- http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604