Homily – 29th Sunday (Year B)
I, Michael, take you, Terri, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
These are the vows that every Catholic who is married in the Church must make before God. At the heart of them is the Gospel message we hear today. A life of service to someone other than ourselves, that is sacrificial even to the point of laying down ones life for them.
That is the reality of what marriage is. It can’t be changed by anyone. You can either choose to live a life divorced from reality or you can live according to reality. Up until this present age we called people who didn’t live according to reality insane. Today some are trying to call those people who live according to reality insane.
Do you think I am being dramatic? Let me tell you the way the vast majority of modern, enlightened people view marriage:
… In good times until they get bad, in health until you get really sick, and until I get bored with you or I stop feeling like I love you.
Some spouses go so far as to kill their spouses to be free of them. Sound radical? Surely these are the exception to the rule, surely the government will lock these people up. No, in fact they won’t. In some cases the government will order the spouse killed themselves and have the nerve to call it an act of love or a right to die.
It’s happening right now in the state of Florida. The state has ordered the execution of Terri Schiavo at the request of her husband.
Do you want to know her crime? She had the gall to collapse and suffer brain damage that disabled her for the rest of her life. She isn’t on a respirator or a machine to keep her heart or other organs functioning. Her crime is that she can’t feed herself and has to be fed through a tube by other people. Because of this she must die. The doctors call it a persistent vegetative state. It doesn’t matter that her eyes are open, that she can occasionally say words, that she recognizes her parents and expresses joy when she sees them. Because she can’t feed herself she is a vegetable. I guess that makes all babies, many people in nursing homes, and many Alzheimer patients vegetables. Isn’t that good news. Now we don’t have to wait for them to die we can call it an act of love and get the courts to order them killed. That’s something for you to look forward to as you get older. I hope you are nice to your children.
Her husband says it is because he loves her and she wouldn’t want to live that way. Letís examine his love for her:
(from terrisfight.org) In a malpractice lawsuit, Terriís husband personally received over $300,000 for his loss of consortium. Terri was awarded $750,000 from this suit and an additional $250,000 from a separate malpractice lawsuit. The money was awarded to Terri for her care and rehabilitation and to be placed in a Medical Trust Fund. Terriís husband received his personal award money and Terriís medical fund money in early 1993. From the date he received the award money in 1993, Michael Schiavo has denied Terri any rehabilitation treatment. Michael Schiavo has confined Terri to a nursing home (currently, Terri is in a Hospice facility) where she is ‘maintained.’
Her husband has directed that Terri only be sustained in a nursing home which is contrary to the intent of the award money. Michael Schiavo has on two occasions unsuccessfully attempted to end Terriís life by instructing her caretakers not to medicate Terri for potentially fatal infections. The first occasion occurred less than nine months after her husband received the malpractice award money.
∑ Terri has no will. Should she die, her husband will inherit what is left of Terriís $750,000 medical fund.
∑ Terriís husband lives in a house with Jodi Centonze. He openly admits that he has been engaged to this women for over seven years, have recently given birth to a baby girl, and has announced plans to marry her when Terri is no longer alive. He canít divorce her because then he wouldnít get the money. Custody and money would go to her parents.
∑ Since receiving the award money in 1993, her husband has ceased and prohibited any new or aggressive treatment for Terri. He has only maintained Terri at a nursing home (currently, Terri is in a Hospice facility). He has totally ignored or denied rehabilitation therapy that could possibly assist Terriís recovery.
In good times and bad, I suppose those are only his good times and not hers. All the days of my life,.. I guess he will kill his spouse to get out of that one.
We shouldn’t be surprised. We have been killing those who can’t defend themselves for over 30 years through abortion. But that is a woman’s right to choose right? How dare the woman be inconvenienced for 9 months of her life because she made a choice to have sex. Who cares if her choice results in murder? Who cares if Mr. Schiavo’s does? Why should he be forced to be inconvenienced because his wife collapsed and suffered brain damage that got her paralyzed? How come he should have to suffer for that? The sad part is he doesn’t. Her parents are begging the courts for the right to take care of their child and feed her. Mr. Schiavo isn’t willing to let them. Terri must die because he loves her. We have seen how selfless that love is. This is what our courts tell us.
The courts, in Roe vs. Wade, ordered abortion based on something that didn’t exist in the constitution and now they call it a constitutional right. It’s ridiculous. It doesn’t exist in the constitution. Now the court is ordering the death of Terri Schiavo based on a hypothetical constitutional right that doesn’t exist.
When I grew up people who saw something that didn’t exist were considered insane. Now it is the people who refuse to see something that doesn’t exist that are considered insane.
So who is responsible for these judges that make these rulings that kill the innocent? We are. We are the ones that elect the politicians that appoint them. Our votes as a nation are votes for murder and death.
Wait a minute we say. We are not voting for abortion when we vote for pro choice candidates. We are voting for them because they are good for our state and for us and our family. Yes we are voting for what is good for us, And we are exactly like Mr. Schiavo. We vote for what is good for us no matter what the cost to others. We vote to allow murder so that we can line our pocket books and for our convenience. If someone has to die because of our choice the so be it because our freedom to choose is more important than someone elseís life. Our pocket books and what is good for #1 is more important than the fact that our vote might cause someone to be starved to death or ripped from their mothers womb and thrown in the garbage because she chooses not to be inconvenienced.
Are the words I am speaking too strong? After all, our scripture today speaks about the throne of mercy. It also says we will be shown the mercy we show others. Maybe we can change that part of Godís word like we changed the constitution. Maybe we can pretend the Gospel says things it doesn’t and doesn’t say things it does just like the constitution. Maybe we can vote on it and choose what God’s word says and what the truth is.
The Catholic Church doesn’t vote on what is true. We obey what is true. If you want to vote you need to find another church.
I don’t want to be the kind of person that serves myself no matter what it costs others and I don’t think most of you do either. But we must admit what we have done. We have elected leaders that have appointed judges that said a parent has no rights to care for their child and that child must be starved to death because her husband does not believe in sickness and in health for all the days of his life. We are responsible and we are responsible for the deaths of the 4000 children killed in our country every day because we vote for our choices at the expense of their lives.
We must repent of our actions. We must approach the throne of mercy and we can only do that on our knees. We must drink from the cup that Christ drank. We must serve others and not glorify ourselves.
To do that I propose the following to you. I propose that we suffer for, and with Terri Schiavo and her family. If she is to be starved to death then we will fast and pray. If she is denied food we will deny ourselves full bellies and we will offer that suffering for the conversion of our own hearts and those her murderers and the intervention of Governor Bush to stop this homicide.
I propose that we follow the rules of the Good Friday fast until Terri dies or until she is allowed to be fed again. That is: no meat, one full meal a day and two smaller meals that don’t equal a full one.
If you are physically or medically unable to fast then I propose you pray a rosary a day for these intentions.
If that is too much to ask can you at least do it on Monday.
These are not requirements. They are proposals. I intend to follow them myself beginning today.
The Gospel tells us we can serve ourselves or we can serve others. We can choose to live our lives for ourselves or we can offer them for others. We can vote whatís best for ourselves or what protects all people. We can choose to be great in the world’s eyes or we can choose to be Great in Christís.
We Americanís love our choices. The Gospel places a clear choice in front of us today. I Choose life. I Choose to let others live even if it inconveniences me. I choose to vote for people who will protect the rights of others especially those who canít defend themselves. I choose to pray and suffer with the Schiavo family. You too have to choose where you stand and what you stand for. The choice is yours. Choose well.