A guest post by Don the Kiwi, who is a Deacon in New Zealand, from a homily he gave on Monday:
Our first reading today speaks of new life -” Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons,” – I must add that daughters are included. But He also adds, “ even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials. “
Our gospel speaks of those things which keep us from giving all that we have so that we will have treasure in Heaven . Sadly for most of us, even though, as the rich young man says, “ Master, we have kept all these commandments from our earliest days” -we will nevertheless fall short of that total giving that Jesus asked of the young man , and will depend on God’s mercy and forgiveness with our full repentance, for us to gain His promise.
Hearing these readings, it brings to mind the people of Ireland who have voted in a referendum to repeal a law which severely restricted abortion. We will now see Ireland, for many centuries a guardian of Faith and protector of Life, descend into the abyss that the rest of Western Society has sunk into – that of killing our most innocent and most vulnerable children in the womb – the ultimate in child abuse.
I can’t help recalling the prophecy of Jeremiah – “ A voice was heard in Rama, of great lamentation and bitter weeping. It is Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted, because they are no more”. This prophecy is repeated by Matthew in his gospel when he reports on the slaughter of the Holy Innocents when Herod, for his own selfish purpose, was determined to kill the new born Jesus. This is one of the things that Peter speaks of in his letter today when he says we will be plagued by all sorts of trials – where that new life promised by God will be stamped out by men of Herod’s kind.
How easily does this make us think of the rich young man in the gospel, who cannot give up his wealth, because he will be deprived of what he is comfortable in. Likewise, we as a society – Ireland is but the latest country in the Western world – we are prepared to accept all kinds of abominations to protect our own comforts and lifestyles and free us from the consequences of our own actions and decisions.
The great G.K.Chesterton made a rhyme -“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.” For the Irish, this is a war that will not be merry, and in their history of repression and persecution of the past several centuries, the Irish are known for their sad laments expressed in song.
I am prompted to re-phrase the prophecy of Jeremiah – “ A voice was heard in Erin, of great lametation and weeping – It was Brigit – and Patrick and Columba – weeping for their children; they refuse to be comforted, for they were no more.” But Ireland is not alone in this – just the latest to fall in this war against Life and the unborn.
Our God is the architect of all life. These laws and actions against life are against God, and cannot ultimately last. Let us pray to the Lord of Life that these heinous laws throughout the world will eventually be repealed so that the unborn may enjoy the promise of a fulfilled life in accordance with the Will of God.