Every once in a while I read something I have read many times before and see something I never saw before or something that enlightens me about what is going on in the present moment. This past Tuesday as I was praying morning prayer and reflecting on Psalm 33, this passage gave me food for thought: “The Lord looks on those who revere him, on those who hope in his love, to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine. Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield. In him do our hearts find joy. We trust in his holy name.” It is very human and very good to look for help in situations where we are confused, frustrated, and see the need for a change of direction. We are wallowing in the midst of the coronavirus and its variants. We have vaccinations, masks, and quarantines. Yet it seems we are still pretty much in the dark about how and when we will get beyond this dreaded disease and its affect on our former lifestyles. We need the Lord to be “our help and our shield” as we live and work together to find cures and healing.
This coming Saturday, January 22nd, we will mark the 49th year of Roe vs. Wade when abortion was legalized in our nation. How will the Lord help us and work through us to rescue the souls of those babies growing in their mother’s wombs who are threatened by abortion? As “civilized and advanced” as we think we are as 21st century Americans, this legal practice is a complete horror and blot on our integrity as Americans. How can one of the most supposedly advanced nations in human history with cherished freedoms continue to grow and thrive with such an evil in our midst? Freedom is a gift that comes with taking responsibility for our choices and actions. Both goodness and sinfulness are possible because we have the ability to make choices. Our personal and national choices have an impact on how we get along with one another and everyone else in the world. This verse from Psalm 33 is very penetrating when we take it seriously: “The Lord looks on those who revere him, on those who hope in his love, to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine.” We have a raging famine in our country with regard to solid, life-giving moral principles. In the name of a woman’s choice and sexual freedom, responsibility for conception in the womb is ignored when the human child in a mother’s womb is viciously and efficiently aborted. We need the help of the Lord to open our minds and hearts to these poor children and to sustain us in our efforts to speak out in their defense through our words, presence, and prayers. Sexual immorality with unbridled selfishness is a disaster. There is no way to justify pornography that is so readily available on the internet. Addiction to pornography is rampant and causing boundless tension and guilt, even destroying interpersonal relationships between men and women.
In the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 2:1-11) we see Jesus working his first miracle in John’s Gospel - He changes water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. How fortunate that couple was to invite Jesus and Mary His mother. This miracle clearly shows the love and concern Jesus has for married couples, all of whom are signs of His love for us, the Church. We need His help, guidance, goodness, and love to change the misguided legalization of abortion and to give support, encouragement, and very practical help to women who are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy on Mary’s part. But hearing God’s message from the angel Gabriel, she conceived Jesus in her womb and brought him into our world. It is her trust in Jesus we need. Jesus changed the water into wine at the request of His mother. Her words to the servants who were catering the meal were, “Do whatever He tells you.” We need to hear these words and know the presence of Jesus if we are ever going to change the legalization of abortion to being illegal. Legalization of evil is never helpful or good. No law can prevent what some people are determined to do. We need to do far more than change a law; we have to change the minds and hearts of abortion supporters in our government and in our midst. Our concern is not to condemn but to defend and protect the most innocent, vulnerable, and voiceless among us. May we all make defeat of this evil part of our daily prayers, opening our minds and hearts to what God’s is leading, calling, and enabling us to do.
Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.
O sing him a song that is new,
play loudly, with all your skill.
For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.
By his word the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all the stars.
He collects the waves of the ocean;
he stores up the depths of the sea.
Let all the earth fear the Lord
all who live in the world revere him.
He spoke; and it came to be.
He commanded; it sprang into being.
He frustrates the designs of the nations,
he defeats the plans of the peoples.
His own designs shall stand for ever,
the plans of his heart from age to age.
They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.
From the heavens the Lord looks forth,
he sees all the children of men.
From the place where he dwells he gazes
on all the dwellers on the earth;
he who shapes the hearts of them all;
and considers all their deeds.
A king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save.
The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.