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Sermon on Respect Life Sunday 2009

A Filipino parent once invited me to grace her daughter’s birthday with my presence. I do not refuse an invitation if it fits my schedule and my belly nearly empty. From my understanding, it’s a social responsibility to interact with people on a personal level. As soon as I got into the house, the wife welcomed me with an all-inclusive smile, said hello, kissed my hand and hugged me tightly that I instantly felt the warmth I longed for such a long time but the husband jokingly said Fr. Jojo is a modern priest. Age-old gestures of respect and religious customs don’t mean much to him. It stayed with me…may I use this story to get across my message…
Modernity is a chapter in history whereby ancient religious practice and belief is considered a thing of the past irrelevant to human life. It is characterized to a large extent as an abandonment of the sacred and the triumph of the human reason. And because it is a break from the past, which deliberately denies anything beyond the confines of reason and the limits of human practice a real disconnect between the sacred and the profane exist. It goes without saying that at the core of modern culture is void, human being rules and not God anymore.
Religious people should play a very important role today. Their lofty ideals, remarkable ethical behavior and exceptional moral practices should help fill the emptiness, set them apart from others and bring them forth into the limelight. Religion’s primary task and goal is to bridge the gap between God and mankind and provide meaning to life especially in tragedy. For many centuries, the Catholic Church has always taken the lead and never ceased to protect the sanctity of life and promote its quality.
The Consistent Ethic of Life, a moral framework- a work in progress, is a breakthrough in Catholic Moral Theology, aimed at weaving together the different moral issues of our time. It is an attempt to create a deeper level of awareness, offer solutions by entering into constant dialogue and immediately call us into action. It is a comprehensive ethical system, a multi-layered effort built upon the whole spectrum of life from the moment of conception to natural death. It highlights the fundamental principle that every single creature is sacred and therefore, needs respect and requires protection and promotion. It follows then that direct attacks on innocent human life is intrinsically evil. While it deeply holds the sanctity of life, it also claims that moral issues are different, complex and complicated. Thus, this type of moral analysis which requires immense imagination, scholarship, prayer and contemplation, understands on the other hand, the difficulty of pulling together issues and principles into a single fabric.
The consistent life ethic, understood as an expression of our deepest beliefs, is a bold attempt to help us look at the bright side of life, offer a more profound sense of compassion and empathy rather than casting stones on the infidel and passing judgment on the secular society and the pro-choice movement. If we really want to create a culture of life, we have to stop the bickering, cease finger pointing, present a loving message and not simply rely on the power of rhetoric and reasoning, let God and our hearts do all the talking and show the most genuine love we can possibly extend most importantly, to the abortionists. Christianity is not about changing the law of the land but transformation of hearts. Amen.

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A Filipino Catholic Priest, born and raised in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, AZ, eleven years in ministry and counting, currently assigned as Pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Parish, Marana, AZ.

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