Understanding the fight against abortion
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

Frank Pavone
Is 22:19-23
Rom 11:33-36
Mt 16:13-20
August 24 2014
Homily Suggestions
Reproduced with Permission

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If some mistook Jesus for John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah, as today's Gospel passage indicates, then his preaching must have borne a resemblance to theirs. John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah were tough characters. They did not hesitate to confront power with the truth and the demands of the moral law. They did not hesitate to point out that violation of the covenant brings ruin to the people. They did not shy away from moral absolutes, and from the absolute requirements of fidelity to God.

The Church presents the same teaching to the world, assured, as we also see in the Gospel, of its union with Christ in its mission not only of teaching but of transformation. Challenging every culture with which it communicates, the Church takes the initiative and storms "the gates of hell." Gates, after all, do not run out on the battlefield to attack the enemy. Rather, gates stand still and defend the city against the enemy attacking it. To say that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church is to say that it is the Church who is taking the offensive, and is storming the gates of hell to win ground for Jesus Christ.

All of this provides a context for understanding the fight against abortion and all the manifestations of the Culture of Death. The readings of today should help people understand not only why the Church's pro-life teachings are faithful to Christ, consistent and unchangeable, but also why she does not shy away from asserting that her mission is to transform the culture of the death into the culture of life, and is not deterred from pursuing that mission.