“God chose us in Christ, before the world began, to be holy and blameless in his sight” (See Ephesians 1:5).
On Saturday, July 12 I had the joy of baptizing three babies, chosen by God from all eternity to live. A cause of particular joy and celebration was that two of these babies were rescued from abortion. Their mothers had gone to an abortion mill in Allentown, PA, but sidewalk counselors intervened and helped them to find the strength to say “No” to abortion and “Yes” to life.
The Church was filled with pro-life advocates, including the sidewalk counselors who intervened, and all were immersed in the joy of the victory of life. Once this ceremony was scheduled, I announced it nationally, not only so that as many people as possible could come, but also so that the whole pro-life movement could be encouraged by this celebration of victory.
Yadira, one of the mothers who turned away from abortion had already gone into the facility. But a few moments later she found the strength to come out, because she looked at an image on a brochure that one of the sidewalk counselors gave her. That image showed an aborted child. It revealed the reality of what abortion does to a baby, and Yadira knew she could not do that to her baby.
And so her baby Shaelyn, along with baby Brandon, also rescued from abortion, were blessed, anointed, and bathed in the waters that make an end of sin and a beginning of eternal life. (You can see photos of this joyful event at www.priestsforlife.org).
These babies, once marked for abortion and inscribed in a scroll of death, now have their names inscribed in the Book of Life. During the ceremony, I preached about how the Church and the pro-life movement say to these mothers and fathers, “I am with you.” We come to their side, rescuing them from despair and giving them the strength to do what is right.
We help them to see through the lies of the devil. In fact, in the baptism ceremony, everyone renews the vows of their own baptism. The question resounded through the Church: “Do you reject Satan?” “I do!”, the response thundered back. “And all his works?” “I do!” “And all his empty promises?” “I do!”
Jesus taught that the works of the devil are lies and murder. Abortion continues because of the lie, the empty promise, that freedom can be found by killing a baby.
We renounced this lie together, and we baptized the babies together. There is no such thing as a private baptism. The Church’s ritual calls for baptism to be celebrated as a communal event. The whole Church welcomes the lives that God has chosen from all eternity. His choice is more important than ours, and comes before ours. We choose life because God has already chosen to entrust us to the care of each other. On July 12, we joyfully affirmed God’s choice for Shaelyn and Brandon.