Respect Life Sunday - homily
How important is life to us? How is important is human life? These are great questions for us to ask anytime, but especially today when the Church celebrates Respect Life Sunday. October is Respect Life month. These are also significant questions for us to consider as we approach Election Day, November 4th. Is there anything or any issue that is more important than human life?
How important is human life to God? It is most important. Just as children are most important to their parents, we are most important to God. WE are “cherished plant”, as we hear in the first reading. WE are the “apple of his eye”, as we hear elsewhere in Scripture. The readings today give us the image of God as an owner of a vineyard; we are the vineyard. “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts”, the first reading says, “is the house of Israel and the people of Judah are his cherished plant”. Again, this refers to us, His people.
Human life is so important to God that He sends his son into the vineyard – the dangerous vineyard – to save us. Let’s be clear: He sends His son to save HUMAN life. When He does, He says, “they will respect my son”. But, they killed His son.
In a similar way, He says, “they will respect my unborn sons and daughters in the United States”. But, they kill thousands of unborn babies in the United States every day through abortion.
In a similar way, He says, “they will respect my people in different lands and of different races”. But, they have killed millions of Jews and Africans through genocide.
In a similar way, He says, “they will respect my oldest children who are of advanced age”. But, they have made it legal in several countries to kill the elderly through euthanasia.
It is a dangerous vineyard, indeed! It is one that disrespected the life of Christ and continues to disrespect human life.
God continues to send His son to save us. He continues to send His son to save us…. in the Eucharist. The best way for us to respect the son in the Eucharist is at Mass. We respect the son in the Eucharist when we come to Mass on time, dress properly, do our best to be attentive and prayerful, participate in the liturgy, and stay until the final blessing. It is extremely disrespectful to the Eucharist when we, without a good reason, leave Mass as soon as we have received Holy Communion. Remember, Judas left the first Mass early.
Let us all respect the son in the Eucharist at this Mass and at every Mass.
Finally, St. Paul gives us beautiful words to meditate on this week. He writes about “whatever is true…whatever is honorable …just …pure …lovely …gracious …excellent …worthy of praise.” We can meditate on them and realize that, among other things, he is describing the Eucharist. And, he is describing human life.