If God had a sneaker company their motto might be Just Say Yes! And on the Feast of the Annunciation, Father Lawrence’s homily at St. Peter’s church in downtown Manhattan prior to the International Gift of Life Walk reflected beautifully on Mary’s fiat, her Yes!
While my ears were on the altar, my eyes were drawn to the apse and the detailed painting of Saint Peter being crucified upside down in recognition of his feeling of unworthiness to die upright as Jesus Christ did. As I stared at the semi-circular painting, I couldn’t help but associate Peter’s crucifixion with the upside-down world we live in today. A world (and state) in which efforts are made to protect nearly every group, sub-group, and sub-sub-group, yet so little is done to protect the unborn.
Many of us had said Yes! that morning to stand in the wind and rain at the corner of Centre and Reade, fittingly with the New York Supreme Court buildings just behind us, getting energized by multiple speakers in advance of our prayerful walk. Then came the moment of truth for two young teenagers, would-be Simons of Cyrene, as everyone lined up for the walk and no one was left to hold the banner.
They said Yes! and as we hurried down the sidewalk to the front of those assembling in the street, they soon witnessed the hatred that is in some people’s hearts as many protesters tried to prevent us from being Heroes for the Unborn as we walked down the Canyon of Heroes.
The same Canyon of Heroes that has been the sight of parades for our beloved NY Mets and that other NY baseball team too. It didn’t take much for tens of thousands of fans to say Yes! on those days, skipping work or school to be witnesses for their favorite baseball team. Why then it is so difficult for us to say Yes! and be witnesses for the unborn?
The media and politicians and “rights” groups want us to accept their wrongs, but we can choose not to. Instead, we can choose to be a public witness for unborn babies and hang Respect Life banners at our churches and attend Respect Life masses and participate in Rosary processions with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and other groups.
We can choose to stand upright in an upside-down city. The Judgment of the Nations passage is clear that “these least brothers of mine” (Matthew 25:40) deserve the most from you and me. Love Life, Choose Life.
God knew you before He formed you in the womb and He wants to change your heart. Mary said Yes! Simon said Yes!...will you say Yes!?
Michael Shoule is Program Director and Past Grand Knight of Father John J. Murray Council 14666 of the Knights of Columbus. He is a parishioner at American Martyrs Church, Bayside, NY.