Easter is the feast of life, the feast of Christ’s victory over death. Upon coming out of His own grave, Jesus did not only overcome His own death; He overcame yours, mine, and the entire kingdom of death.
On Easter, we come to church not simply to congratulate Jesus for rising from the dead, but to celebrate the fact that we share that victory through faith and Baptism.
And we are called to proclaim and apply that victory to every segment of our society. That’s the source of our pro-life mission – and our pro-life hope. We don’t stand before the culture of death wondering if or how we will overcome it. Rather, we stand before it in strength, declaring that it has already been conquered. Christ is risen! We are not just working for victory, we are working from victory. The victory of life is our starting point!
On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene stood weeping by the tomb. Jesus Himself stood there. But, St. John’s Gospel tells us that she did not know Him and supposed it was the gardener. “‘Woman,’ He asked her, ‘Why are you weeping? Who is it you are looking for?’“ The very cause of her grief was about to be removed by the One asking her about it. Little did she know that the reason for her weeping had already been destroyed. The Lord was present.
On Easter afternoon, two of the first Christians were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, filled with despair, and Jesus began to walk with them. However, they didn’t recognize Him. But the very reason for their grief had been destroyed by the One now asking them about their grief. The Lord was present and was walking with them. Their hearts began to burn within them.
As the Church continues to deal with the tragedy of abortion, she faces not only a sin against life, but a sin against hope. We do not see “abortion” walking down the street. What we see is a mother caught in the grip of despair. Even if she knows abortion is wrong, as most do, she sees no other way out. She too is in despair. She feels she must choose between the baby’s life and her own life.
This despair can blind us to the value of the child. It also distorts our entire health care system. When the killing of a child is considered by some as “health care,” even to the point of taxpayer funding, then despair has infected us deeply
The pro-life movement challenges the very notion that abortion is medicine. The burden of proof, in fact, is not on pro-life people to show that abortion is wrong; it is on abortionists to show that it is health care. Medical intervention is not justified without medical indication. What disease does abortion cure? What medical benefit does it bring? None.
Medical interventions are meant to help the body do what it is supposed to do but is having trouble doing. Abortion does just the opposite, violently stopping a natural process.
Medicine lives by the dictum “First, do no harm.” That excludes abortion immediately, not only for the harm it does to the baby (see LookAtAbortion. org) and to the whole family and beyond (see AbortionShockwaves.com) but for the harm that comes to the health care profession itself by giving in to the despair that says killing the innocent is inevitable, a necessary evil to solve problems we can’t solve in any other way
It is time again, with eyes full of hope, to see the Risen Christ walking among us.
FR. FRANK PAVONE is national director of Priests for Life