Pastoral Thought




            We celebrate October as Respect for Human Life month. Today’s gospel gives the big picture:  tenant farmers in the vineyard little by little begin to think that they should be the owners, since they do the work and the owner seems to have disappeared for a long time. When his messengers appear to claim his due, they become angry, then abusive, then murderous.

            This is a picture of human beings becoming self-deluded about the “ownership” of human life. Every human life is a person in unique relationship with God. God is not so much the owner as the parent, lord and lover who wills that relationship and seeks that person’s completeness in love.

            Abortion is the destruction of a person whom God has called into existence. That is its evil. Any killing of a human being is evil, even though some circumstance may render it free of moral guilt, e.g., self-defense, war.

            In abortion we do not judge the person, but we identify the evil as killing. Respect for life begins with the unborn, but it does not stop there. Every human life has irreplaceable importance to God and to us.

            Racism, policing or imprisonment practices which treat a class of persons unjustly, and immigration policies which harm families, are evils which offend human dignity. They do not kill the body but they may kill the soul. They cry for social justice. Other folks, too, are our concern: the elderly, the handicapped, the abused child. As God’s people, we must care for these ‘least’ who are part of the vineyard God has entrusted to us.

Father John Hynes