(The following column by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez appeared in the Friday, Oct. 7, issue of the archdiocesan newspaper The Tidings)
Blessed John Paul II said that as Christians we are called to be people of life and for life.
Our religion, in a beautiful and mysterious way, is deeply identified with human life. What other world religion remembers the time when its founder was in his mother’s womb?
Yet in our sacred Scriptures, we preserve the story of Jesus’ conception, his birth, and even some events from his early childhood. We retell these stories in our worship, year after year — at Christmas time, in feasts like the Annunciation. We remember the name of Jesus’ mother in our confession of faith, when we say Jesus was “born of the Virgin Mary.”
Biblical religion is a religion in which family and children, and the promise of children, plays a big role.
Think of the stories of Abraham and Sarah and God’s promise to give them a son. Think of God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
Again and again in the salvation history we read in the Bible, God’s plan is enacted through a woman who is with child. “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son …”
God loved us so much that he entered into this world as each one of us did — through the womb of a mother.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to love the Gospel story of the Visitation. She always pointed to this detail — how St. John the Baptist leapt in St. Elizabeth’s womb when Mary walked into the room.
She said: “Something very beautiful, something very wonderful happened. The first human being to recognize the presence of Jesus was the little one in the womb of his mother — who leaped with joy. It is so beautiful to think that God gave that little unborn child the greatness of proclaiming the presence of Jesus on earth.”