Mark 9:38-48 Do Not Prevent Them
Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…and if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.”
I just got back from John Paul II High School for their 4th annual “Hike For Life!” It was amazing how many young people were present. Over three hundred students at JPII are members of the Pro-Life group. It is very heartwarming to see so many young people not only respect life but appreciate it.
I gave some words to the kids a few weeks ago and again today. Here is what I said and didn’t say in both occasions.
Life is not fair. It is remarkable! Conception is remarkable. Birth is remarkable. Childhood is remarkable. Adults are remarkable. Life is remarkable! And from the very first moment of our existence, we fought for our lives. In fact, throughout our lives we have had to fight for our lives. Now, today, we are fighting for others lives. But what we are truly fighting for is not that others may live, but that our life may be much more valued.
Some may say we are fighting to end abortion. We are, of course, but the real fight that we face is to defend the dignity, the beauty, the remarkableness, the uniqueness, the tremendous gift that life is. We don’t know what we have until it is gone. We take it for granted. We don’t appreciate life the way it should be. We have forgotten how precious it is.
I can’t even believe that we are having this debate. I can’t believe that we have to organize hikes to save the lives of babies. I can’t believe we have to defend our position. I can’t believe that anyone would ever claim God to be anything other than pro-life? After all, what makes the earth so different from all the other planets? What makes earth so remarkable, so beautiful, so striking, so amazing, so glorious? Life. Life is a good thing. It is a very good thing. It is remarkable! And we have forgotten this…when it comes to human beings. We haven’t so much forgotten this when it comes to wildlife and forests and the oceans and seas. But boy have we forgotten this when it comes to baby girls, especially in China and India.
Over forty years ago, the Supreme Court legalized abortion. Where were the mass demonstrations? Where were the mass protests? Where were the marches? Although I was only seven-years-old when this happened, I do not remember ever hearing of or seeing a film clip showing millions of people protesting at the steps of the Supreme Court building. Where were our parents and grandparents? Where were our church buses?
We try not to talk much about it today. We tend to forget the lives of others in the voting booth, in our pocket books, in our debates and in our conversations. We even think little of life in the way we live our lives.
So what is the fight of our lives? That we never forget how remarkable life is; that we don’t own it; that we can’t own it; that we never take it for granted. God is known as the giver of life, all life, human and divine. Life is not an accident. Life is diligently and mindfully created.
The Lord reminds us of the seriousness of sin. Better to cut something out of your life than to take someone’s life; better to downsize than to make an excuse. It’s less important to save your life than to save a life; a crippled child-of-God has a greater chance of entering heaven than a man of-the-World with two legs and two arms.
I have yet to meet a mom who regretted changing her mind and saved her baby’s life. I have met far too many who regret taking it away.
I don’t know about you, but I did get a chance to see the Paralympics in London. I was amazed at how these men and women competed. I am very much convinced that not a single one of them feels sorry for themselves. I am also very convinced that every single one of them thanked their parents for giving them a chance to live. This is our fight. It’s all about appreciation. It’s all about the remarkableness of life!