Dallas Convention Center
January 18th, 2014
A few weeks ago I was asked to give the homily for this year’s Pro-Life Mass. I was honored. Yesterday, I got a little nervous when I saw thousands of people in attendance at the Dallas Convention Center. I asked the Lord to strengthen my heart and to speak his words of wisdom. This is what I said.
“I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mk 2:17). No one likes to be called a sinner. And no one likes to think of themselves as a sinner. This is a problem. It’s a big problem.
But today, we can say something good about being called a sinner. It means there is someone who is reaching out for us, for all of us. Jesus said to some scribes and Pharisees, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
This is not Good News. This is Great News! I no longer need to be afraid of my sinfulness or hide my shame or run away from my Lord. Only when we are no longer afraid to expose our frailties can we begin to reveal our Christ.
Preparing for this day. In times past, the Lord would place his hand over another’s hand and inspire them to write his thoughts. Today, the Lord often places his hand over another’s hand and inspires them to flip to the proper channel. For the very first time in my life I watched CNN’s Piers Morgan. He was interviewing Barbara Walters. I wasn’t really impressed with his interview, but that suddenly changed when he asked her one last question.
“Final question. It’s kinda not a best or worst, it’s more like you’ve had such an extraordinary life and career and it’s continuing on until your retirement, and I’m sure it will carry on after that. If you could relive one moment in your life, the moment that brought you the greatest satisfaction, thrill, sadness perhaps, what is, you think, the moment?” Morgan asked the 84-year old Walters.
“Can I tell you what I regret when you’re talking that way? I regret not having more children,” interjected Walters. “I regret, I would have loved to have had a bigger family. I have one daughter. I don’t have brothers and sisters. I had a sister that I loved and she was developmentally challenged, I guess is how they put it. I wish I had a bigger family.”
In just a few brief seconds my esteem for Barbara Walters shot through the roof. Why? Because she was brutally honest. No matter what some people may think, TV personalities have a lot of sway in what common folks think. And what Barbara Walters thinks means a lot to a lot of people!
“I regret not having more children.” How moving and touching this confession is. Only when we are no longer afraid to expose our frailties can we begin to reveal our Christ.
Apology not accepted! In the past couple of months we have heard a lot of apologies. Chris Christie has apologized. Melissa Harris-Perry has apologized. Alec Baldwin has apologized. Martin Bashir has apologized. Dennis Rodman has apologized. Even companies like Cracker Barrel and Victoria Secrets have had to apologize. But do you know what? Very few people have accepted their apologies. In fact, now a days, people make fun of people who apologize.
Apologies are no longer being accepted! This is scary! This is really scary.
But in Confession all apologies are accepted! It doesn’t matter what people may think. It doesn’t even matter what you or I think. The truth of the matter is: “You’re forgiven.” When it comes to Reconciliation and God’s mercy, the sinner is always given the benefit of the doubt. Who am I to judge?
But not in our world. Not in the frightful new world we are constructing. For this reason, more and more people are hiding their sins. They are afraid to admit their humanity. They have seen close-up what happens to those who are all too human, only human! So they go into hiding or cover their skin (or try shed it). They hide their faces behind a fake name and try to act perfect, look perfect and be perfect. This is scary. This is really scary.
Three recent blessings from God. The Lord has recently blessed our Church with three amazing blessings: Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.
For John Paul II, the Gospel was the Gospel of Life. During his tenure the Catholic Pro-Life movement proliferated throughout the world. It gathered strength. It gathered momentum. It picked up steam. It battled Goliath and many times won. For John Paul II, the Gospel is Life.
For Pope Benedict XVI, the Gospel was the Gospel of Truth. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. We are all sinners. And we are all in need of a Savior. Christ saves. He does not wish to see the death of the sinner. During Pope Benedict’s tenure, the Catholic Pro-Life movement concentrated on shedding light on the abortion industry, on Dr. Gosnell; but most importantly it shed light on the womb. Ultrasound technology is a life saver. And the Pro-Life movement is concentrating her forces on bringing good things to light. For Pope Benedict, the Gospel is Truth.
For Pope Francis, the Gospel is the Gospel of Compassion. People have complained that the Pope does not speak enough on abortion. This is true, and it is intentional. “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” That’s his motto. The Pro-Life movement must always be known as The Movement of Compassion. Moms and dads, have mercy on your sons and daughters. Sons and Daughters, have mercy on your children!
Who among us can forget the moment the Pope embraced a disfigured man and the reaction it stirred in the hearts of millions of people? Do you realize what he did? He was embracing life inside the womb. He was embracing a disfigured child, an abnormal child, a frightened and lonely child. Have mercy on me. Have mercy on me.
All life is precious. All life is worthy of the utmost respect and love. No one is perfect. No one is near perfect. But life is what distinguishes our planet from all other planets. It is life and love that best describes who God is.
I wish to thank the Catholic Pro-Life Committee for organizing this yearly event. God bless you and the great work you do for Christ and his children. (0)