Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
January 27th, 2013
Year C

Traveling 16 hours on a bus does not sound like a wonderful idea – 8 hours one way, overnight, and 8 hours back, arriving home around 2am. Indeed, it is no picnic. Yet, when a cause or a specific purpose is brought into the equation somehow the bus ride does not seem so bad after all.  This past Thursday and Friday a small group of students from the Newman Center joined forces with a group from Blessed Sacrament in Greenfield to make a pilgrimage to Washington, DC for the March for Life. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade that legalized procured abortion in the United State. In reality, the decision decriminalized abortion. For our small group from UMass, most who had never been to the March before, it was a very moving experience. We gathered with over 500,000 thousand other people – all from different religious backgrounds – to take a stand, to show our respect for human life from conception to natural death. The amazing part about it is the people. As we joined the march up Constitution Avenue, we took a moment to stop and watch the sea of people go by. So many from all over the country were there marching for the same cause. People of different faith traditions and people who do not hold to any particular religion were all standing up for human life. We were united. It was a moment that could not be ignored. But the depressing thing about it is that is does not get the publicity it deserves. A football player gets a week’s worth of news over a mystery girlfriend but 500,000 people marching on the Nation’s capitol to defend the sanctity of human life means very little. This is the sad reality of the secular world, reality of a country divided.

To cause division is the devil’s favorite tactic. The context of the second of the Mass today recalls how the devil crept his way into the community at Corinth. Some of the Christians there, before baptism, had been Jewish, and others had been pagan. Some claimed that they had received the faith from St Paul, others from St Peter, others from another famous preacher of the time, Apollos. These differences had given rise to factions within the Church. Whenever a new opportunity or problem came up, the factions fought over it.  This constantly aggravated division was tearing the young community apart, and also spreading its destruction to the surrounding Christian communities. It was, in short, a crisis.

The devil is always looking to throw an obstacle in our path to God, dividing us from one another. We as a nation face this problem with regard to human life. We must remember, however, the question over when life begins is not a matter of religion or politics, it is science. At the moment of conception, the chromosomes from the male and female unite forming the DNA – from that we can detect hair color, eye color, skin color and gender – hence, a person and if a person, than a soul is present as well. Other facts that science gives us: day 21 – heartbeat; week 6 – brain activity; week 7 – knee joints; week 8 – child can feel pain; week 9 – child can suck the thumb and yawn; week 10 – toenails begin to grow. These are just some examples of what science confirms for us is in fact a human being growing inside his or her mother’s womb.

In his message on the World Day of Peace in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said this: “Humanity needs a profound cultural renewal; it needs to rediscover those values which can serve as the solid basis for building a brighter future for all. Our present crises – be they economic, food-related, environmental or social – are ultimately also moral crises, and all of them are interrelated. They require us to rethink the path which we are travelling together. Specifically, they call for a lifestyle marked by sobriety and solidarity.”

That which the world needs is good news, something in which to rejoice. At the beginning of St. Luke’s gospel, we are told that he is writing to Theophilus – a name that means: “to whom God loves.”  Luke does not set out to make a record of facts, rather a narrative of events that details the mystery of the salvific events of life of Jesus Christ. As such, this narrative must be proclaimed. For this is the “good news” of Jesus Christ, it is the voice of the Word made flesh. Therefore, this proclamation is meant for all “whom God loves.” If we love God, it is written for us. If it is for us then we must discharge the duty of being evangelists – those who proclaim the good news, who “bring glad tidings to the poor.” This means, Pope Benedict XVI explains, that  “I have the response to your fundamental questions; I will show you the path of life…”
This is precisely what I witnessed on Friday in Washington – 500,000 people witnessing, proclaiming the good news to those who are poor, not for lack of material needs, but poor in spirit, poor in heart, those who are in need of a renewal of their minds. This great crowd of people united to call this nation to a renewal of its core values. We gathered to proclaim good news, to offer to the leaders of our nation something in which to rejoice – human life, life that is a gift from God.

The reality is that not everyone can travel on an overnight bus, spend the whole of the next day walking and return on the same bus. It is not a trip for the weak of heart. All of us, however, can do our part to promote life from conception to natural death. All of us can do our part to proclaim the good news, to tell the world that life itself is something in which to rejoice. We can participate in prayer vigils, pray the rosary, engage in fasting and offer up any little act of suffer in reparation for the sins against the unborn. We can do our part to unite spiritually with other Catholics, Protestants and people all over the country and the world to proclaim that life is sacred. For this is our sacred duty – to be doers of God’s Word and not just hearers only. May He give us the courage to be united in mind, heart, spirit, and in voice to proclaim the good news and show others the path of life.







Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.



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