by Fr Jonathan Meyer
The following is a homily given by Father Jonathan Meyer in his parish of All Saints, Guilford, IN, on the Sunday following the March for Life in Washington, D.C. (1/26/20). This is a message of HOPE — a powerful testimony of the Grace of God available for the conversion of people — that we are to NEVER give up on anyone! Thank you Fr. Meyer!
Reprinted with kind permission.
This past Friday at the March for Life many people walked in a land of darkness, in a country overshadowed by death: the deaths of 60 million children, and oftentimes the spiritual and emotional death of every mother and father, grandmother and grandfather of those aborted children. And yet my dear people, just as the gospel passage says and just as the prophet Isaiah said,
“A light has arisen; a great light”.
I’d like to quote one of the speakers from the March for Life this past year. For those of you who attended, the March starts by the Washington Memorial. The March begins with a rally with speakers and presenters from all over the country. Then the thousands of marchers make their way up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court where they pray and publicly beg for the overturning of “Roe v. Wade”.
Every year there are tremendous speakers and I’d like to quote one of those speakers from this year’s rally. This is what he said:
“Young people are the heart of the March for Life and it’s your generation that’s making America pro-life and pro-family. The pro-life movement is led by strong women, amazing faith-leaders and brave students! All of us that are here today understand an eternal truth: that every child is precious and a sacred gift from God. When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation! When we hold a newborn baby in our arms, we know the endless love that a child brings to each family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world. As the bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made. To all the Moms that are here today, we celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes! Your strength, your devotion and drive is what powers our nation. Because of you, dear mothers, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history. The pro-life women that are here today, your devotion and leadership uplifts our entire nation. You stand for life each and every day. You provide housing and education and jobs and medical care to women that you serve. Our Pregnancy Resource Centers find loving places of adoption for children in need of a home. You host baby showers for expectant mothers who can’t afford the things they need. And you make it your life’s mission to spread God’s grace.
We cannot know what our citizens that are yet unborn will achieve. The dream can only imagine the masterpieces that will be created; the discoveries that they will make. But we know this: every life brings love into this world and every child brings joy to a family, and every child is worth protecting! But above all, we know this: that every human soul is divine. And every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy and almighty image of God.”
Who spoke those words at this year’s March for Life, the largest, annual protest in our nation’s capital? President Donald Trump. Not a bishop, not a pastor, not a rabbi, but the President of this nation spoke those words! And, my dear people, a great light has arisen. And the people who have been living in a land overshadowed by death have seen a great light.
Now, I know many of you are already thinking,
“Father, seriously, Donald Trump is not pro-life; he’s doing this solely for votes. He fooled you, Father, but he didn’t fool me!”
In 1999, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, when Donald Trump, a free-wheeling New York dealmaker was asked about his pro-life stance, Donald Trump said this, “I am very pro-choice”, and yet 21 years later, he stands in front of a crowd of thousands as this nation’s president and speaks some of the most clear biblical truths about the dignity and sanctity of life and the dignity and beauty of every woman and mother.
I’d like to make some very clear comments about this, and there are three. The first is this. We are NEVER to give up. Donald Trump went from being pro-choice to pro-life. We are NEVER to give up! The reality is that people can change. The reality is that people can convert. The reality is that conversion is possible for everyone. Abby Johnson was the director of Planned Parenthood and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds and thousands of unborn children and yet she converted and is now the author of the best-selling book Unplanned and it is now a major motion picture. Norma McCorvey, who was Jane Roe, in Roe v. Wade never had an abortion but was pro-choice. She converted and died a Roman Catholic preaching the gospel message of life. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was known in America as “the abortion king” and the founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and who was the doctor behind Roe v. Wade, who three years after Roe v. Wade, saw for the first time in his life an ultrasound. On that day when he saw a child for the first time in her mother’s womb, he walked away from abortion and became one of the most staunch pro-life advocates and he died a Roman Catholic. Dr. Alveda King, who is Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, had two abortions but then, through the grace of God, converted and when she realized that abortion and Planned Parenthood were designed specifically to snuff out the black population she became one of the greatest staunch advocates for the pro-life cause, particularly for the black people of the USA.
We have, in this Church a statue of St. Paul. Who is St. Paul? St. Paul is one of the greatest authors ever given to Christianity. He has more written words in the bible than any other author. His life consisted of killing Christians, but then he converted. He came to the light. Let me ask you a question: do you think when the first Christians heard that St. Paul had converted that they believed that he really had? No. And in fact if you read Paul’s writings he speaks about how they didn’t believe that he had actually converted. So you see, my brothers and sisters, we are to NEVER give up on anyone. Whether it be their stance on life; whether it be their life of sin; or whether it be their rejection of the faith in its entirety, we are to NEVER give up and Donald Trump is proof of that!
We are to not be surprised and we are not to be skeptical. Again, we are to not be surprised and we are to not be skeptical! Many people will say,
“Sure, Father, now he’s pro-life but why is he really pro-life? I mean, what if he’s not as pro-life as I am because I’m the best pro-life person in the whole entire world which gives me the right to judge Donald Trump!”
I’d like to quote you from Phillipians 1:15-18, where St. Paul writes this:
“Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.”
Everyone should be rejoicing, that Donald Trump, the first President of the United States to ever speak at the March for Life, had the boldness and the courage to stand with the cause that is so dear to anyone who understands the importance of marriage, life, family and the fact that God is the author of life. We should be rejoicing with St. Paul, who is rejoicing in heaven over this conversion, no matter what the motives are! And I’ll tell you what I believe one of the greatest motives is — it’s the First Lady, Melania, who, if you don’t know, is Catholic and who, if you don’t know, is pro-life. This is a reminder to every single one of us of how people convert in our world; it is through relationships.
The majority of people who are pro-choice have never had a true relationship with someone who is pro-life. They’ve never been loved by somebody who is pro-life. They’ve never had it explained and taught with compassion the truth of what they believe.
We are called to never give up. We are called to not be surprised and not be skeptical and lastly we are called to pray and fast. St. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2: I-2,
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.“
When you come to holy Mass have you ever noticed after the creed when we have the prayers of the faithful, there’s actually a prescribed order to the petitions? Have you ever noticed the first petition is always for the Church leaders and the second is always offered for politicians, the nation and its governmental leaders? So in our petitions today you will hear us praying for our President. I want to ask you a question. How often do you pray for our political leaders? Do you fast and pray regularly for our governmental leaders because St. Paul clearly tells us to? I will say that President Trump’s stance on abortion, as much as I want to say is possibly because of the First Lady, or some great pro-life websites, or great Catholic literature, I will tell you it is really solely because of the grace of Jesus Christ, which is directed clearly at people through prayer.
So when was the last time you prayed for the conversion or dedicated a day of fasting and prayer for Nancy Pelosi who claims to be Catholic and yet believes that killing babies is fine. Or for Joe Biden who claims to be Catholic and yet believes that killing babies is fine. Or how about Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, because they should be prayed for every single day if we believe that 1 Timothy 2:1-2 is true.
But secondly, I think it’s really awesome how St. Paul tells us to pray for kings but also to pray for all those in authority. And who else has the authority over us in our world right now? It’s actually not politicians. It’s actually those in the entertainment industry and the mass media who literally dictate the clothes you wear, your music, your vocabulary and your culture. The reality is that culture eats strategy for breakfast. So when was the last time you prayed and fasted for Ellen DeGeneres or Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga or Pink?
I remember in 1999, after I had my conversion and I was sitting down with a bunch of seminarians. We were trying to figure out if you wanted to convert the entire world, how would you do it? We made a list of people for whom we were going to pray and fast for their conversions. It hasn’t happened yet for most of them. You know, it took Donald Trump 21 years to have a conversion. But on that list was Madonna and I still pray and fast for Madonna. Imagine if she converted! Do you know she was raised a Roman Catholic and named her kids Lourdes and Fatima?! God is ripe and ready to set her on fire and if she converted consider the light she could bring to a world of darkness. My friend Father John Hallowell offers Masses for the conversion of Brittany Spears. How awesome is that?! We had a Mass offered at our parish at the request of one of our parishioners for the conversion of Kim Jong Un. Why doesn’t that happen more often? We must fast and pray as St. Paul asks of us to do, for kings, and for all those in authority.
My dear brothers and sisters, we who walk in darkness have seen a great light and we who dwell in a land overshadowed by death a light has arisen and that light is Christ.
So let’s bring this home a little bit. Many of you know that I was pro-choice as a high school and college student. Do you believe that I’m pro-life now? Then why can’t you believe the same about Trump? And why am I pro-life? I will tell you it is because of the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ who was directed at me through at least 5 people: my mom and dad, my godparents and my great aunt who I truly believe and know prayed and fasted for my conversion. We must never give up on anyone. We must fast and pray. I don’t care whether it’s a son, a daughter, a grandson, a granddaughter, a neighbor, a brother, a sister or even yourself, conversion is always possible. I don’t know what darkness is in your life. It might be alcohol, it might be addiction, it might be pornography, it might be a bad marriage, a bad job, financial difficulties, it might be abuse. But my dear people we must never give up! Know that I fast and pray for you. I know that there is hope for all. My dear people, may we be with St. Paul in rejoicing in the graces that have been showered on our nation and thankful for the gift of life. May we never give up and may we always pray and fast. And through God’s grace may we be blessed. Amen.