26th Sunday Ordinary Time (Respect Life Sunday) Oct. 1, 2006

Homily — 26th Sunday OT B (Respect Life Sunday) 10/01/06

Christ the Judge Separating the Sheep from the Goats 6th-cent mosaic from Ravenna

Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!

That was Moses’ prayer to God that day in the wilderness. Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow His Spirit on them all!

It took about 1300 years, but God finally answered Moses’ prayer, when Jesus, after Ascending back into Heaven in His Risen Human Body, sent the Holy Spirit on the Church that first Pentecost Sunday, the anniversary of the day Moses was given the 10 Commandments.

From that first Pentecost Sunday on, the Lord has bestowed the fullness of His Spirit on every Baptized and Confirmed Christian.

And so at Confirmation, not only do we receive the Holy Spirit, we, “the LORD’s people,” become Prophets, the Prophets Moses wished we would become!

And yet, we may still unfortunately say today in 2006, “Would that all the Prophets were Prophets!” Would that we Confirmed Catholics all be worthy of that great name of Prophet.

For a prophet in the Biblical sense isn’t so much a person who predicts the future; rather, a prophet is a person who speaks out and stands for what is right and true — even if those words and actions aren’t very popular to the people around us.

A prophet is a person filled not with the spirit of the world, but with the Holy Spirit. And as Jesus figuratively says in today’s Gospel, serious sin should not exist in the heart of a prophet; the prophet must cut out and throw away not one’s hand foot or eye, but any person, place or thing in their life that would lead the prophet into sin.

A true prophet, therefore, will never lead another person into sin and wrongdoing; a true prophet will instead lead many people into virtue and holiness.

Would that all the LORD’s people, would that we Confirmed Catholics were the Prophets the LORD wishes us to be, that we might not give scandal to the little ones.

Today, my brothers and sisters, we observe National Respect Life Sunday in Parishes throughout the country. And probably the single most important truth that we 21st Century Prophets of the Lord are to proclaim to the world is what Pope John Paul II called the “Gospel of Life”: namely, that every human life is sacred from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, and that to directly destroy or mistreat any innocent human life, for whatever reason, is to risk the fires of Gehenna.

[By the way, it is interesting that Jesus’ favorite term for hell in the Gospels is “Gehenna.” Because Gehenna was the place just outside of the walls of Jerusalem where in Jeremiah’s day the Israelites sacrificed babies to false gods. Our Lord obviously saw the tolerance of such behavior to be hell on earth.]

Jesus teaches us that whatsoever we do to the most insignificant of humans — whatsoever we do, for example, to an embryonic human being only hours old, whatsoever we do to an unborn child in it’s mothers womb, whatsoever we do to the poor, the sick or the aged — that we do to the One who will judge us when our life on earth has ended.

As St. James reminds us, the excess wealth and power we hoarded while the poor went without, the comfort and laziness we indulged in while the unborn went legally unprotected to their death, the health and well-being we demanded at the price of destroying embryonic human lives — all these will all cry out for justice, and their cries, not ours, will be heard by God on that Dies Irae, Dies Illa, that Day of Judgement, Day of Wrath.

But while tomorrow may be Judgment Day for me or you, today and not tomorrow is Mercy Day for all of us. If the worm of a guilty conscience is currently gnawing away at us because we have failed to respect life, Jesus wishes today to forgive us and empower us in building a culture of life. But if we don’t deal with that worm today, tomorrow we may be living eternally in Gehenna with it, where the worm of a guilty conscience never dies.

Yes, Moses, would that all the people of the LORD were prophets, the prophets Jesus calls them to be in virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation.

Would that all the people of the Lord, would that all of us Catholics today stand up for innocent Human Life, would that all of us Catholics today be vocal in loudly rejecting legalized abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and everything that degrades human life, and not care how politically incorrect we are in doing so.

Would that all of us Catholics today be led by the Spirit to help support women in crisis pregnancies, to be mindful of the poor, to be compassionate to the suffering and their loved ones, and to promote scientific research to better all human beings, not just the ones deemed worthy of life by the self-proclaimed elite.

On this Respect Life Sunday and this whole Respect Life Month of October, may the prayer of Moses be our prayer, and may it be answered today by Christ in you, in me, and in the hearts of all Catholics, and other men and women of good will.

One Response to “26th Sunday Ordinary Time (Respect Life Sunday) Oct. 1, 2006”

  1. Mike Dubois says:

    We need more “Voices” in our world today. But the fact of the matter is many people are scared to stand up for the truth because of how they will be treated in the end. It is very hard to tell people that abortion is wrong in the work place because it could lead to other issues that could get someone in trouble…yet we are called to stand up for the Truth….REGARDLESS of consequences! In a world that is so wrapped up in image of self, how about the image of the dying child in the womb? If we can view what abortion is really all about, then and only then, would we forget our image and stand up for the defenseless child.

    Lord Jesus, help us to stand up for the defenseless that we may stand up always for the Truth! Send us your spirit to say what needs to be said and to do what needs to be done to bring “the Kingdom of God here on earth”. Amen!