Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
On June 24 many celebrated the birth of John the Baptist. A cousin of Jesus Christ, John was born some months before Jesus. We celebrate the Annunciation, when the archangel Gabriel announced the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary on March 26, nine months before Christmas. After the Annunciation, Maria went to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was already pregnant with Juan. According to the structure of the ecclesiastical calendar, therefore, we celebrate this event a week after the day of John's birth.
Our text goes like this: "In those days Mary rose up, and went into the hill country to a city of Judah; And she went into the house of Zechariah, and greeted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the child leaped in her womb; And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she cried with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as the voice of your salutation came to my ears, the child leaped for joy in my belly. And blessed is she that believed, for that which was spoken of the Lord shall be fulfilled. "
When the unborn child jumped in her womb, Elizabeth knew what it had happened to Mary. Many years later, her son would call people to repentance of their sins and baptize them in the Jordan River in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, Israel's Promised One and Savior of the world. But at that time, through the work of the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth anticipated the fate of both children.
And Mary responded with the song we know as "The Magnificat".
"My soul magnifies the Lord; And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he hath looked upon the iniquity of his handmaiden; For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For the Almighty has done great things to me; Holy is his name. And his mercy endures from generation to generation to those who fear him. He did his mighty deeds with his arm; he scattered the proud of heart. He removed the mighty from their thrones, and raised up the humble. He has filled the hungry with goods; And he has sent away the rich empty-handed. And he has rescued his servant Israel, remembering the mercy which he spake unto our fathers to Abraham and to his seed for ever. " And Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months;, then returned to her house.
What can we say about this story? First, what is inside the womb of the woman is a human being, a person with conscience. We learn from the catechism that the Law of God tells us, "Do not kill." The child in the womb of his mother is a living human being, a person who has done nothing against others. Therefore, it is not lawful to terminate the pregnancy without just cause. If there must be a choice between the life of the child or the life of the mother, civil law may allow abortion. But without this reason, abortion is murder. It is not the woman's right to terminate her pregnancy for any reason, at any time.
Every human being, at every stage of his life, has value in the eyes of God. It does not matter if it is before the birth or in its old age. Our psalm (Psalm 139) reads as follows:
"Because you formed my inward pars; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you; For your works are marvelous, wonderful: and my soul knoweth it much. "
God creates life in the womb of the woman. The birth of Jesus was a miracle, because Mary was a virgin, but by the work of the Holy Spirit, she conceived and gave birth, because God had a special purpose for her Son.
The birth of John the Baptist was a miracle too, because his parents were elderly, and his mother for many years were barren
God has a purpose for all other children as well.
St. Paul says in Galatians 1:15, "But it pleased God, who set me apart me from the womb of my mother, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach to him among the Gentiles, and not consult immediately with flesh and blood. "
Many times we do not know what purpose God has for our lives. When we have weaknesses, difficulties or conflicts, it is difficult to understand what purpose our life has. But, we must trust in God that our lives have purpose.
We confess in the creed that the Holy Spirit is the Giver of life. He can create life in the womb without the help of a man in the case of Jesus. He also gives us eternal life in the water of holy baptism.
We have the promise of eternal life because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but in baptism we make this promise because the Spirit begins to live within us. Eternal life begins with baptism and will continue after physical death in our resurrection. We are children of God by creation and adoption. Therefore, we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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