THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 19th, 2013
Liturgical texts here
I recently watched the film Prisoners, a story about the abduction of two children and the attempts of the fathers and police to find them. As it says in the movie’s release notes, one father takes matters into his own hands in what becomes a very intense moral struggle.1
I won’t say any more about the film. But there is one line that stood out like a beacon:
Making children disappear is the war we wage with God. Makes people lose their faith, turns them into demons like you.
Blessed John Paul II stated it from another perspective:
…whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 9
Christians were horrified around the world when, earlier this month, a mob of pro-abortion feminists tried to enter a Cathedral in St. Juan, Argentina. A group of men surrounded the Cathedral, locked arms, and prayed the Rosary. That’s when the assaults began.
The women, many of them topless, spray-painted the men’s crotches and faces and swastikas on their chests and foreheads, using markers to paint their faces with Hitler-like moustaches. They also performed obscene sexual acts in front of them and pushed their breasts onto their faces, all the while shouting “get your rosaries out of our ovaries.” —lifesitenews.com, Dec. 2nd, 2013
It is an irony that abortion is presented as a “right,” euthanasia as “mercy,” and assisted suicide as “compassion” when there is none of the above for those who disagree.
In stark contrast are today’s readings, and how God sees the child in the womb. After telling Manoah’s wife that she will bear and conceive a son, the angel of the Lord advises,
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean.
God’s “rights”, “mercy”, and “compassion” extend into the womb where life begins. As David sang in today’s Psalm:
For you are my hope, O Lord… On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
The womb is where the future is born! From his conception, Samson was destined to “begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.” Likewise in the Gospel, the angel Gabriel pronounced, while John the Baptist was still in the womb, that “many will rejoice at his birth, for he will… prepare a people fit for the Lord.”
Another irony in the Argentinean persecution is that the feminists who protested for their “rights” at once ignored those of other women yet unborn—women who could change their world for the better. There is no question that the “culture of death” today is eradicating brilliant scientists who could advance health, musicians who could lift our spirits, politicians who could lead justly, athletes who could inspire, teachers who could impact lives, businessmen who could profit people, clergymen who could save souls, saints who could change the world… And none of this accounts for the gargantuan economic losses of all those consumers and taxpayers whom we’ve erased from our cities and towns. For most people, it would be too overwhelming to calculate the costs.
The day before the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis sent a message to the Americas:
Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age… I ask all the people of the Americas
to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness. —POPE FRANCIS, General Audience, Dec 11th, 2013; radiovaticana.va
That love and tenderness must begin with our “enemies.” It is precisely Christ’s love and forgiveness of those who persecuted Him that resulted in their conversions. And He did so without preaching to them; rather, it was through His prayer and silence that their hearts were changed. Such was one story out of Argentina from Oscar Campillay, a father of eight children.
…there was a moment in which a girl whose face was covered stood in front of me. I decided to look into her eyes without ceasing to pray, while she assaulted me. There was an instant in which our eyes met and we each held our gaze firmly. Suddenly she became calm and quiet; slowly she uncovered her face and looked at me, and withdrew in silence away from the crowd… —lifesitenews.com, Dec. 9th, 2013
The war we Christians are called to wage is not one of weapons and revenge, but one of prayer, obedience and love. This is what will crush the culture of death in time… and we pray, win those who wage war against us over into the arms of Mercy—of He who fashioned them in the the womb.
I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil; then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. (Rom 16:19-20)
Be my rock of refuge… O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. (Today’s Psalm, 71)
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- The film is very violent and contains many expletives, earning it an R rating. It also, curiously, contains many blatant Masonic symbols. [↩]