It is not a coincidence that the Mass readings for Wednesday of the second week of ordinary times are perfectly applicable to the March for Life events today. A seemingly random alignment of liturgical readings and world events is a phenomenon not uncommon for people of faith. It is God’s way of speaking to us through His word in the circumstances of our lives.
Yes, on the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, we find that today’s first reading is from first Samuel, chapter 17, the famous account of David’s against-all-odds victory over the merciless, menacing Goliath. The ingredients of the story seem customized for this moment: a cowardly, worldly government; youth standing up fearlessly against dominant power; the threat of a human body being treated as little more than rubbish, being left for “the birds of the air and the beasts of the field;” and the force of law leaving many to cower in the face of this seemingly insurmountable foe.
And yet we are assured that “the battle is the Lord’s.” We must not forget those words!
The Gospel for today’s Mass tells of a “deeply grieved” Jesus who sees that the authorities “had closed their minds against him.” He angrily asks whether it is permitted on the Lord ’s Day to do a good act or an evil one, “To preserve life – or to destroy it?”
That is the exact question that the March for Life raises, isn’t it?
Yesterday I attended a gathering of pro-life leaders at a Mass and reception hosted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Franciscan Monastery near their headquarters.
Here’s a photo of one of Ave Maria’s trustees, Cardinal O’Malley, greeting folks after Mass (that’s not a supernova you see near the woman’s head – it was further evidence of my uncanny ability to snap a photo at the wrong time, in this case at the exact moment a flash went off across the room. Now that’s talent!).
Cardinal O’Malley’s homily went 28 minutes and was worth every solitary word – I hope someone reading this can track the homily down and get it to Julie Cosden, our VP for Student Affairs, so she can share it with our students in Washington and back home.
Yes, the battle is the Lord’s. And it will be young people (like David) who will lead us to victory. No one can come to this annual event and not be impressed by the vast multitudes of young people who arrive from all over America. These young people have the same courage of conviction as David. Scores of Ave Maria University students will be part of this massive throng, this movement, this generational statement. Like David they will come “in the name of the Lord of hosts” and witness against the tyranny of the Roe v. Wade culture, and simply walk and pray, for as today’s reading says, “it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.”
And our Ave students will continue to pay a price for their faith. I write this blog post with the temperature outside a toasty 6 degrees - with a wind chill of minus 9. Our students left Tuesday at 3AM to catch their flight from Ft. Lauderdale and they’ll get back to campus in the wee hours tonight - and be back in the classroom tomorrow.
Let us all be united in prayer today in reparation for the assaults against the sanctity of life that “deeply grieve” our Lord, and recommit ourselves to the Gospel of Life and merciful love.
Below are photos from today’s March for Life events.
Snow always makes the White House whiter. But not today it seems. Based on this administration’s policies as they pertain to marriage, family, and the sanctity of life, I am not surprised that the White House seems darkened. Our university’s lawsuit will be decided in large part by nine justices who reside at the end of the March route.
Shots from the mall with the Capitol in the background and Joe Kerr and Maureen Mullally.
Some of Ave Maria’s finest.
Ave speaks loud and clear!
The March begins. The only casualty is that the Ave Maria University poles for the sign snapped in the gust in the wind. But that won’t stop these students.
Making the turn on Constitution Avenue in the shadow of the Capitol. It is exhilarating to see legions of the young putting their faith in action. Heading now towards the Supreme Court where in a few weeks one of the biggest religious liberty cases will be argued on the HHS contraception mandate. Impossible not to think of the connection between our lawsuit and this case, and why we are marching today.
Some Ave Maria students pause for one last photo and then get their marching orders to get to the airport and catch their plane in a couple of hours. If all goes as planned they will be back on campus tonight around midnight. Any students wanting to greet the group when they return would be doing a good deed - and if you come bring some hot chocolate.