Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 59 – Wednesday of the 4th Week of Advent

Unplanned Pregnancies Saved the World

Today’s gospel tells of the birth of John the Baptist. You might remember the gospel from a few days ago in which little John was described as “leaping for joy” in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary arrived carrying the baby Jesus in her womb. It should be perfectly clear from Scripture that no Christian could ever hold to the lie that babies are nothing more than “tissue” before they are born. These two little ones were not only alive in a natural sense, but even alive in the spiritual sense, responding to the grace of the Holy Spirit.

It is a great irony to think that after Jesus is born, this little baby would be seen as such a threat that Herod would have all the baby boys in Bethlehem murdered. How can a baby threaten anyone? Yet, Herod found the birth of this new “king” to be an inconvenience to his own plans. Jesus would have brought Herod happiness that he never could have planned for; instead he planned to have Jesus killed. Fear and selfishness sometimes cause us to do irrational and even diabolical things.

Unfortunately, the crime of Herod was not the first such incident in history. Pharoh had done a similar deed at the time of Moses. Nor was Herod the last to have such ideas. Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, on the very night when Christians everywhere will gather in prayer to celebrate the birth of a little baby, the United States Senate will instead be meeting to plot for the first time in history to force all tax payers to cooperate in the murder of millions of little babies through the forced public funding of abortion. Not much has changed in 2000 years.

It remains a great sadness today as it was in the time of Moses and Jesus to ever think of a little baby as a threat that needs to be killed. However, the line from the Gospel today that most saddens me with regard to abortion is the observation of the crowd at the birth of John the Baptist, “What then will this child be?” I often pose this question to parents at baptisms. I wonder about the futures of all the little babies lost to abortion. What good were they created to do? What medical cures and scientific discoveries have been lost? Perhaps someone destined to be one of the greatest saints in the Church has been aborted.

In history God has often used the birth of a baby to bring about his plans. Often this was through what we would call today an “unplanned pregnancy.” To Mary and Joseph, no preganacy could have seemed more unplanned that Jesus’, yet God had planned it from all eternity. The same is true of any baby conceived today. When faced with an unplanned pregnancy we need to ask, “What then will this child be?” Let’s pray that the Senate will change their minds and go home for Christmas to celebrate the birth of a little baby who saved the world.

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