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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
February 14, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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February 14, 1998
 

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February 14, 1998 Page 5 Andrew J. McDonald ('l'he following is the homily given by Bishop ld during the Mass.) fl tis grand and glorious sight to see a uathedral brimming over with the Yotlng people of our diocese, the State of "" ansas. - krni t]0 Even though you did not try to to sleep until the wee hours of the g (the young people had a pro- f e" throughout the night), you look ,.. Vibrant, ready to again If this wer~ -. ; o " .lace u gnal, you could do the bunny v p. and down these aisles. How won- .rf l e:t is for you to be alive -- oppor- ),, tor education a place to live, food ,o e~L ' -- clothes to wear Moms and dads ,. Your rnoms and dads made thxs pos- hl,, st Your rooms and dads gave you that precious of all gifts -- they gave you Let's rise and atmlaud the people mtl call "" -_' Morn and Dad. y :his annual gathering of you, our veig people, fills me with hope. You hol. :rae from all parts of Arkansas. You ,,. a high your life banners You will r f, fe ...... " hahi . xou will not/orget those es .... lives Snuffed out --- never given to live, to breath, to love. Your life will turn the tide. You will difference in 1998 and well into our astute Holy John Paul II, has called for a cen- peace, reconciliation. the young people of Little Rock, Morrilton, Russellville, Clinton, rt, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Fort Smith, Rogers, Pocahontas, Blytheville, South, East, West --- you will be you will make the difference -- aow in my 75th year. My remaining of life are few --,but hil J, sex alive -- while I can still proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His Gospel of life, hear me -- listen to me -- carry what I say in your hearts into the next century -- transform the attitudes of your com- munity, your state, your nation, your world from a culture of death to a culture of life. Listen to what has happened since we gathered in this Cathedral, January, 1997. Violence stalks us -- death consumes us -- life is cheap. 1. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette- June 9, 1997: Aberdeen Township, New Jersey. Melissa, age 18, accused of putting her newborn baby in the trash after giving birth in the restroom at her high school prom. She returned to the dance floor, danced with her boyfriend. A mainte- nance worker followed the splattered blood from the commode stall to the trash can. Where was the father of this child? Where was his love, his care, his concern for this young mother? 2. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette August 8, 1997: Brazil, Indiana, Clay County Hospital. Rescue workers pulled a 6 pound 7 ounce baby -- no injuries -- out of an 18 inch wide, four foot deep pit in a public park outhouse. People heard the baby crying and called the police. Where was the father? He said he loved the mother of this baby. Where was the mother? 3. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette -- Septem- ber 23, 1997: Vilonia, Arkansas a trash collector found an 8 pound, 5 ounce baby dead in a 55-gallon drum along Highway 107. Again, where was the father? Where was the mother? 4. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette -- Early No- vember, 1997: Santa Aria, California-- a man waved down the police and gave them a newborn baby found dead in a black garbage bag hidden in his shrub bery he was shocked to learn that his own 17-year-old daughter dropped the baby out of the second floor bath- room window. Where was the father of this child? 5. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette- November 11, 1997: Orlando Florida, Disney World a 7 pound baby found alive in a toilet m her head sticking out of the water -- umbilical cord wrapped a- round her neck. Where were the mother and the father? 6. The issue of life is constantly before our United States Congress and our president. In 1997-1998, the focus re- mains on partial-birth abortion -- a perfectly formed healthy baby is more than half-way through the birth canal. The head is already out --- a doctor inserts the scissors --- the baby dies. Yet within two or three minutes, that baby would be born -- that baby would be healthy. Our Congress the House and the Senate --have voted twice to abolish partial-birth abortion. Our presi- dent has vetoed this legislation. Efforts to override his veto fall short in the Senate by only two or three votes. This anti-life stand is a lie. Anti-life people know that one victory for pro-life -- for the unborn baby will expose the lie --- that a baby is nothing unless wanted and loved. Using a deck of cards when we were children, we built houses. If we touched only one card, the whole house collapsed. So it is with the anti-life forces. Give us pro-life people one victory and their house will crumble before the truth -- the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that, a baby,i a precious gif from God. If, by chance, anyone in this Cathedral today has made a mistake and in despera- tion, you have had an abortion, I have good news: No sin is beyond the mercy and forgiveness of God. There is no reason for you to think: "I've made such a dreadful mistake, the Church would never want me back. Why, I can't even forgive myself." If this be your situation, call the Diocese of Little Rock (501) 664-0340 ask for Anne Dierks your call is confidential she will lead you gently to the forgiveness of Jesus ask for Project Rachel. We are in the telephone book-- (501) 664-0340. The anti-life people have not limited their violence to babies. They are now after us old people. They look into our nursing homes -- they see disabled old people; confused people; by their stan- dards, "non-productive" filled with pain; no purpose in life; get this: "A bur- den to society." They say, "Assisted sui- cide is the answer." Kevorkian stalks the old the pain-ridden citizens of our land. Oregon is the first state to make it legal to kill an old person. Be careful be alert the arguments are the same. Unless wanted, cared for, loved, a baby is a burden to the mother and the father and to the society. The poor babies can never speak for themselves. Unless old persons are pain free, loved, cared for, they have no reason to live. They are a burden to their children and to society. Already some old people believe this. Be careful --- be alert-- don't let them convince your grandma or your grandpa that they are not worth loving. When they try it on me, you better be there to protect mei God is the author of life from the womb to the tomb. There is room at the table of life for all of us. My dear young people, the issues of life, of sex, of love are not complicated or com- plex. Here are a few useful observations for you to hear and to make your own. 1. Your body is a precious gift from GOd. Your total body is good, a creation of GOd -- through the love of your morn and dad. 2. By God's design, sex between a man and a women is reserved for marriage. 3. To be sexually active before marriage is offensive to God the Lord of life and love. In most instances, sex be- fore marriage is devastating and de- structive. 4. Love is not synonymous with sex. Love is our highest calling. Love distin- guishes us from animals. Love makes us "God-like." "GOd is love." We are born and we spend a lifetime learning how to be like God learning how to love. 5. As young people, so full of energy, hope, joy, learn to be friends --- boys to boys; girls to girls; boy to girl; girl to boy; share common interests: sports, music, studies, hobbies --- learn to be at ease in the company of each other. Always respect one another. Eventually and at the right time, a friendship will focus you on one person -- out of that friendship will flow love. Love built on friendship, on respect, on mutual un- derstanding will provide a solid, stable setting for marriage. Here's how St. Paul put it: "I will show you the way which surpasses all the oth- ers. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowl- edge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish; Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger. Neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but it rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbear- ance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. LOVE NEVER FAILS." If you love God, you will not sin. If you love life, you will not destroy it. If you love a helpless newborn baby, you will not destroy the baby. If you love and respect yourself, you will respect your body, your God-given gift of sex. If you love your grandpa, your grandma, if you love your dear old bishop, you will not let them destroy us. The issue is simple: I commit the issue to the generous hearts of you, our young people: LOVE YOUR GOD WITH YOUR WHOLE HF_ MRT AND SOUL. LOVE YOUR LIFE AND ALL PEOPLES' LIFE. LIVE LIFE UNTO THE FULL, EVERY GOLDEN MINUTE OF IT. Youth from St. Joseph Church in Pine Bluff carry a banner during the March for Life.