Homily During the March for Life
MARCH FOR LIFE & NATIONAL 4LIFE GATHERING
Celebration of the Syro-Malankara Holy Qurbono (Divine Liturgy)
HOMILY OF HIS EXCELLENCY THOMAS MAR EUSEBIUS
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Church, Washington D.C.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ!
We have gathered here to participate in a historic event, to proclaim our solidarity with all our brothers and sisters in this country who are radically committed to the most fundamental aspect of our Christian call, namely the protection and promotion of human life. We have gathered here as members of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches in the US. As Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic Faithful we share a common heritage; our rootedness in the ancient Indian culture and in the ancient Eastern Christian spirituality of the Syriac tradition is common. The values that we have inherited from these two sources should continue to inspire and influence our Christian commitment in the American society. And as we know, family, marriage and respect for life are values fundamental to the cultures that we have inherited and they constitute the basis of our Christian faith as well. Today we wish to reiterate our uncompromising commitment to these values, especially our stand on the issue of life, that we are committed to respecting and protecting life. That is the reason why we have gathered here.
We are still in the blessed season of Christmas. Christmas is the feast of life par excellence. God assumes the human nature in order to teach us the value and sanctity of human life. It is this sacredness of the human life that we celebrate on every Christmas night. No other time and culture has posed such a threat to the dignity of life as our own. Ironically, in our culture, the place where the human life faces the gravest threat is where it is supposed to be its safest abode, namely, the womb of the mother. It is our God-given mission to combat this culture of death, this culture of selfishness and to protect and promote life, starting from where it is most vulnerable. As Christians, our commitment to upholding the value and dignity of life has to be uncompromising.
I am happy that so many of you took the courage and spared your valuable time and energy to be here this morning. It is faith and love that has prompted us to gather here; we believe in God and we believe in God's gift of life and love. As Christians it is our duty to resist all attempts to reject this precious gift of God. Our presence here is a sign, our presence here is a witness and proclamation of the most fundamental Christian truth, namely, God is love and life is God’s gift of love; that life belongs entirely to God; we are to nurture it and promote it. Jesus said, ‘I came to the world so that you may have life, life in its fullness.’ Our call is to grow into the fullness of life and promote life all around us; we are called to be the protectors and guardians of life. As we know, the biggest threat that the human civilization is facing today is not over population, rather it is the opposite. What should alarm us today is the drastically falling rate of population in many of the advanced countries. Some of these countries are almost on the verge of extinction. And Blessed Mother Teresa said, “it is a poverty that ‘a child must die’ so that I may live as I wish.” Every attempt to deny and destroy human life is the clearest act of selfishness, the gravest disrespect to God, the author of life and the biggest disservice to humanity.
It is to strengthen this our basic Christian mission that the 4Life Ministry has been initiated. It is a call to swim against the current, and in the process we may have to face humiliation, isolation and persecution. But it is worth its while, because our struggles and pains will contribute to the safeguard and promotion of the sanctity of life. As Blessed John Paul II encourages our youth, “Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. … You are called to work and pray against abortion. Christ is with you: be not afraid.” We are optimistic, because we are doing the Lord’s work. In an article that I read the other day, ten reasons are given why the pro-life movement will one day carry the day. One of the reasons cited is that the movement is getting younger, while the pro-“choice” opposition is graying. The author says, “What really alarms the pro-Roe forces in American politics about the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., is not just the impressive numbers: it’s that the marchers get younger, every year. And that youthful vitality is not limited to one cold January day in the nation’s capital; there are new pro-life organizations among younger physicians and attorneys. All of which suggests that the pro-life movement is American civil society at its robust and self-revitalizing best.”
Let me express my most sincere appreciation, also in the name of His Excellency the Most Rev. Jacob Angadiyath, Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, for the great work that our young friends in the 4Life ministry are doing. I admire your faith commitment and courage. I understand the amount of time and energy that you spare for this ministry. I appreciate the inspiring leadership that our Rev. Fathers give to this ministry. As we participate in this historic March for Life, let us resolve ourselves to be powerful messengers of the value and dignity of life in our society. May the Lord grant us the grace and strength for the same. Let me conclude by thanking the Lord along with the Psalmist for sanctifying our life already in our mothers’s womb. “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” Psalm 139: 13-14