From the Pastor – June 24, 2012

All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel. (Lk 1:66, 80)

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist. And it should be great reminder of the teachings of the Church on the dignity of the human person. We live in a world that has a terrible disregard for human life. Wars are part of human history, but numbers of “casualities” do little to recognize the individual human beings who died and left behind sons and daughters and wives and husbands and parents and friends. Each day on the cover of the newspaper we hear about killings out of revenge or drugs or jealousy, but behind each individual is a life story that was tragically ended. Our prisons are filled with guilty offenders who sit in small cells for the government to decide through the legal system whether they should be coldly put to death by lethal injection. Video games and movies trivialize violence.

But despite all of these tragedies born out of our original sin, one particular sin stands out begging for retribution: the sin of abortion. Why?  It’s because the children killed by abortion have taken part in no activity that should put them at risk for being brutally murdered, except for the “crime” of being conceived in a womb. Soldiers put their lives at risk when they go to war. Drug dealers put their lives at risk when they enter into the violent world of dealing. Criminals are aware of the crimes that carry the death penalty. But babies?

Most of the feast days of the saints are celebrated on the day of a saint’s death. That day is called the saint’s “dies natalis.” While the Latin words are translated “day of birth,” the Church means that the day of their death is the day of their birth into life eternal. But there are three days on the calendar when we recognize the actual birth of people into this world. That’s the birth of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and St John the Baptist. Why? Well, it’s clear that the Virgin Mary, free from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception, represents a birth into a new order of sinlessless and grace. The birth of Jesus revealed the “word made flesh,” and the “light of the nations.” But why St John the Baptist? The easy answer comes from the words of Jesus that “among those born of women no one has appeared who is greater than John the Baptist.” But the deeper understanding comes from the Visitation when John, by a singular privilege, was sanctified in his mother’s womb and favored with special graces that he might prepare the way of the Lord. Jesus freed John from original sin in the womb, and so his birth is outside the natural order of sin that existed since the fall. John had a mission, and Jesus gave him the grace to accomplish it while they both were still in the womb. Now tell me once again, how abortion is okay?

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty