Respect Life Mass Homily - April 23, 2017

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge


Did you hear what was said about Peter and John in our first reading today? They were recognized as companions of Jesus. Is that not a worthy goal for all of us: that others recognize us also as companions of Jesus? They will, if we are witnesses of His Gospel, who find our strength in Him and remain united as brothers and sisters in Christ.

So this morning, as companions of Jesus, we witness on behalf of the Gospel of Life and proclaim that God created us in His very image and likeness and that, thus, the child in the womb and life at every stage must be cherished and protected. We offer such witness today as we soon go forth from this church to bring our faith peacefully and confidently into the public arena.

As we do, it may not be easy. Others who drive by may make their opposition known to us in unpleasant ways. However, that does not deter us because as companions of Jesus we find our strength in Him and in the great truth that unites us in this Octave of Easter: Jesus is risen from the dead. Alleluia! By His cross and resurrection, He has turned darkness to light, suffering to glory and death to life. That is what we celebrate at every Mass and here find our strength and consolation. That is why we ask the Spirit with which He has anointed us to give us courage and fortitude. That is why we will pray the Rosary today, because His mother is our Mother, the One who watches over us and protects us. For these reasons, companions of Jesus are never fearful as they witness to the Gospel of Life.

As we go forth, we are united as brothers and sisters in Christ. It can be no other way for companions of Jesus. That unity must be reflected even with those who disagree with us, oppose us or reject us. Tomorrow, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, in which we are powerfully reminded that no sin is greater than the love of God, the One who forgives us and allows us to begin anew. We are recipients of His mercy; we are instruments of His mercy. Thus, we pray for all those who have wandered from God, asking the Lord to transform their hearts and lives and to give us the grace to respect the dignity of all persons, without exception.

Strengthened with the gift of the Holy Eucharist, may we offer faithful witness to the Gospel of Life with the strength that God supplies, united as brothers and sisters in Christ. For then, others will recognize us as companions of Jesus, Our Risen Lord who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.