8 Oct 2012
Homily for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time – October 7, 2012
October 7, 2012
By Father J. Daniel Atkins, Holy Family Catholic Church, New Albany, Indiana
One doctor said to another doctor: I want your opinion on the termination of a particular pregnancy. The father had syphilis. The mother had tuberculosis. Of the four children born, the first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf and dumb, the fourth also was born with tuberculosis. There was a fifth pregnancy; what would you have done.
The second doctor answered, “I would have ended the pregnancy.
“Then you would have murdered Beethoven,” said the doctor.
In his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II spoke of the culture of our day as one that wages war on the weak. As a culture that engages in a conspiracy against life. He says this culture of death is one that denies the solidarity of all humanity and makes war against lives which require greater acceptance, love and care. Such lives are seen to be useless, intolerable burdens. I give you his words….
A person who, because of illness, handicap, or more simply, just by existing, compromises the well-being or life-style of those who are more favored tend to be looked upon as an enemy to be resisted or eliminated. In this way a kind of conspiracy against life is unleashed.
Jesus confronted men who used religion to dispose of women who were no longer useful or attractive or convenient to them. He said in clear terms that disposable relationships and divorce were not options for his followers. Jesus forbade his followers to return violence with violence. Retribution was not an option for Jesus. Though the apostles wanted him to call down fire on those who rejected him, Jesus left their fate to God, his Father. Jesus rebuked his apostles when they sent parents and children away. The kingdom happens, he said when we are being inconvenienced by the little ones, not just those who are physically smaller and weaker than us, but the ones who demand our patience, our forbearance. Indifference to and distance from trying people was not an option for Jesus.
Absolutely no one respected life more than Our Lord. And we are called, not to applaud him, but to follow him. To imitate him in everything, especially in his love, compassion and respect for all people. Violence has no place in our lives. Nor indifference to human suffering. There is no legitimate place in a Christian’s vocabulary for words like “wrongful birth”, “assisted suicide”, “peacekeeper missiles” and “the death penalty”. If the world sees us as ignorant, fanatic and unbendable, then let us remain ugly in the world’s eyes until the world comes to see Christ hidden in the flesh of every person.