Friday, December 23, 2016

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.”

Abortion on demand has, in my judgment, contributed significantly to an environment in our country in which life has become very cheap. — Robert Casey Sr. (the governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1994, whose strong opposition to abortion put him at odds with the Democratic Party of which he belonged)

Gospel Text: (LK 1:57-66)
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
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.”

As we reflect on the birth of John the Baptist in preparation for celebrating the birth of Jesus, it may be a good time to reflect on all children. For we can say what was said about John: The hand of the Lord is with them. And because of this, we could be asking ourselves, “What, then, will these children be?” Will many of the children be allowed, so to speak, to be the persons God made them to be? What can help “turn the hearts” of us toward them?

I know this is the time of year when there are many attempts to tug at our hearts to support various charities here and throughout the world. And I’m not advocating one charity over another. But somehow we cannot let the inundation of appeals numb us to the plight of others. Can we turn our hearts towards those most vulnerable, both young and old?

To make room for Jesus we need to make room for each other. We are called to work for a time and a place when the question, “What, then, will this child be?” will not be asked out of fear or worry, but out of anticipation and hope.

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