Every thought, word and action we direct toward another human person reveals our true convictions as to the dignity of human life.
As I was reviewing the contents of this issue of our bulletin, I was grateful to see multiple events in support of human life at its beginning in the womb. Beginning with an ecumenical service this Sunday, January 13, and continuing with local events on the 18th and 22nd, in addition to the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., in which I am aware a number of our community members are participating, we have a good deal of “low-hanging fruit”— opportunities to pray and give testimony to the Gospel of Life.
For me, when it comes to speaking out for life, a variation on the analogy of the horse and the cart applies. Our lives begin at conception. That is the horse, without which the cart cannot move. Correspondingly, all the stages and conditions of a human life— without exception—is the content on the cart. We fail in our mission if we forget to hitch the horse to the cart.
This weekend concludes the observance of National Migration Week. Anyone who has so much as turned on the news for a moment or glanced at headlines knows that issues of immigration are at the forefront in our country, as well as on an international level. Here are a couple of facts related to the issue:
· The Catholic Church has been welcoming immigrants and refugees to the United States since the nation’s founding and has been integral to helping them integrate into American culture.
· Forced displacement of people is at the highest level since World War II, with more than 65 million people displaced around the world and over 22 million refugees.
I believe it can be said that, as Catholics, we have the Gospel and history in our support. I was recently challenged to include in our prayers, those who are charged with border security, who are people and who have families to support. I appreciate that reminder. I believe that our goal ought always be to avoid demonizing any individual (whether it be someone we know personally or only by hearsay). This does not mean, however, that we can avoid calling out sinful behavior and challenging, in a manner that respects human dignity, policies and systems that do not serve to build up the humanity of society.
Here is an excerpt of a prayer to address this theme:
Loving Father, protect, we pray, all those forced from their homes by violence and persecution, guide them to places of shelter and safety…
We beseech you to give each of us the strength and generosity to welcome the stranger and to open our homes to the newcomer, and in doing so to comfort those who are suffering. Amen.