Archbishop Gomez at Requiem Mass for the Unborn: Post-Roe, Our Pro-Life Work Has Not Ended, but Changed
‘God has a plan of love for every person. … We still need to work every day to build a society where every person will know the warmth of human love and every person will have what they need to lead their lives with dignity.’
Editor’s Note: On Jan. 21, Archbishop José Gomez hosted a daylong celebration of the sanctity and dignity of life in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The archdiocese’s annual OneLife LA event, which includes a march for life and a family festival, concludes with the annual “Requiem Mass for the Unborn,” which remembers innocent lives lost through abortion in Los Angeles during the previous year. The following is adapted from the archbishop’s homily at the Mass. It is reprinted with permission.
Tonight, we are praying for all those little ones who never had the chance to be born. We pray that the love they could not find on earth they now find in heaven, wrapped in the loving arms of the Father.
We also pray for a new awakening of love — in our hearts and in the hearts of our neighbors.
In the Gospel, Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee, and we are told that he “saw” his first disciples, the brothers Peter and Andrew, James and John.
Jesus was looking for them. And he is looking for us. This the truth about our lives: We live in the presence of God, always under the loving eyes of Our Lord.
Jesus sees us, and he knows us. He knows who we are, he knows our names, and he knows our hearts. From before the foundation of the world, Jesus loved us and chose us to be born; God destined us in love to be his children, St. Paul once wrote.
So every person has a destiny, from the moment of our conception. That is one of the reasons why the first Christians were so concerned about the child in the womb.
I was thinking this week about an early Christian letter, written in the year 177, by a layman, a catechist called Athenagoras. He is writing to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and he tells the emperor: “We Christians regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care.”
In our compassion and care for these innocent ones, we stand in a long and noble Christian tradition, a tradition that dates back to Jesus.
Our Lord told us that every hair on every head is numbered, and that God gives every child an angel in heaven, to guard and guide that child.
Children are the sign of his kingdom of God. Jesus said, as we all remember: “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
This movement for a culture of life and love is about children and families and mothers and fathers. It’s about the Kingdom, the family of God that Jesus wants us to build with him on earth.
So, in the presence of these little ones, let us ask for the courage and strength to keep moving forward — that every child might come to Jesus, and that nothing will ever prevent that.
God has a plan of love for every person. This is the constant teaching we find in the Scriptures. The Lord sees us, and he calls us from the womb — he gives us a name and consecrates our lives with a destiny and a purpose.
Jesus calls the apostles in the Gospel, and he calls each one of us with a call of love. Those two words — “Follow me” — set our lives in a whole new direction. “Follow me” means: Take my hand, and walk with me; let my light be the guide for your life.
You and I have a purpose on this earth, in this moment. And our purpose is to follow Jesus and to spread his love, to share his light.
We have entered a new moment in our country. Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional “right” to abortion. Thanks be to God, this past summer, the Court changed its mind and now says it is up to each state legislature to decide these grave matters.
But our work for mothers and fathers and children and families has not ended. It is only changed.
We still need to work every day to build a city and a nation where it is easier for people to be born and to raise families, where the strong help the weak, and the vulnerable are protected.
We still need to work every day to build a society where every person will know the warmth of human love and every person will have what they need to lead their lives with dignity.
Let stay close to Holy Mary, our Blessed Mother, who carried our Savior for nine months in her womb. May she help us always to answer the call of her Son — with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might.
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez writes at ArchbishopGomez.org.