Every Day is Newtown in America

The following was sent to me by a friend. Thought it was spot on.

The following is a homily given in the Mass of 1/20/2013, the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, by Dcn Ed Peitler.  I was so moved by the homily that I asked the good Deacon if I could include it in the Blog.  He agreed, and I’m happy to offer it now for you readers:

In many protestant churches, the preacher will post the title and subject of his sermon on one of those roadside boards on the church’s property. We don’t do this in the Catholic Church, probably because, while the homily is important to the Mass, it is not essential to how we worship. But if I had to give a title to my homily this morning it would be this: “Every Day is Newtown in America”. You do realize that I am referring to Newtown CT where last month 19 children, innocent in all respects, and who were simply doing what we expect all children of that age to do – get an education -had their precious lives ended one sad morning in the weeks before Christmas.

I have entitled this homily “Every day is Newtown in America.” Ours is a very interesting country. In fact, it’s not only our country that’s very interesting but human nature itself. You see, we are very adaptable beings. We can become accustomed to almost any condition that life throws at us. We learn to live with it and go on about our business. What am I referring to? Every day in the US 3300 pre-born babies have their lives taken from them through abortion. And the act of abortion is no less violent than what happened to those children in Newtown. And yet most people hardly blink an eye when they hear the statistics about abortion.

For weeks, the media was consumed with the tragedy of Newtown – and rightfully so. But are there any differences between those children killed in Newtown and those still living in their mothers’ wombs? One difference is that some of the children in Newtown were able to run, hide or escape the one who sought to harm them. But children whose development is still taking place inside their mother’s womb have no means of escape, no place to hide. One would think that inside a mother’s womb would be a safe enough environment – as we presume a classroom in a school would be. But sadly, mother’s wombs stopped being a safe place a long time ago.

Other differences? The children in Newtown were older in years but only a few short years removed from having been babies in their mothers’ wombs themselves. Six or seven years earlier those children at Newtown were not unlike the 3300 babies still in their mother’s wombs whose lives are taken away from them daily. In fact, those 1st and 2nd graders attending school in Newtown are closer in age to any preborn baby than they are to most of us here.

The pre-born child is a human person who is simply at an earlier stage of their development. Not yet ready for reading, writing and arithmetic but getting ready for the day when they will take their place in the schoolrooms of America. But for so many of these developing human persons, “Every Day Is Newtown in America.”

Every day, the Newtown experience happens 3300 times in this great land of ours. Not caused by madmen wielding a gun but lives ended by doctors wielding equally as lethal weapons. And it happens so often now, that we barely blink an eye. How frightening to think that we can get used to a Newtown experience happening every single day. In fact, there are even some Catholics who believe that there is nothing morally objectionable about abortion.

Some Catholic politicians openly support taking the lives of children when they are at their most vulnerable time of development. These Catholic politicians believe that they can publicly support abortion and remain a faithful Catholic. They cannot. They try to defend a right to do what – take the life of a defenseless innocent human person? The only right we as Catholics enjoy when it comes to abortion is the right to be outraged. Could you imagine anyone getting up anywhere in America today and defending what happened at Newtown?

For weeks, the media detailed for us the horrible carnage of Newtown. We saw pictures of the traumatized children who survived and were given graphic descriptions of what transpired on that fateful morning in rural Connecticut. And yet, my brothers and sisters, we will never hear descriptions of what actually takes place in abortion clinics all across this country 3300 times every single day of the week. And you also will not hear about the hundreds of thousands of people who will take to the streets of our nation’s capital this week to protest the horror of abortion. No, our country ignores the reality of “Every Day Is Newtown in America.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v Wade decision. The justices of the Supreme Court could not find in our Constitution a right to life. Imagine that! Over these ensuing 40 years, 55 million pre-born have had their lives taken from them. Not by a lone gunman but by a team of professionals who call it healthcare. Given the 19 children whose lives were taken at Newtown, that number of 55 million amounts to almost 3 million Newtowns occurring over these past 40 years.

Think about that: could you imagine the US going through that Newtown experience 3 million times over the past 40 years? And yet, we barely blink an eye when it comes to the issue of abortion. How human beings can adapt. It’s simply amazing.

All of which leads me to today’s scripture reading. God knows exactly the depths of the sin to which all of us can descend. And how easy it is to get used to the sin in our lives and pretend it doesn’t matter. How easy it is to adapt to a life of sinfulness. The scriptures refer to it as a ‘hardness of heart.’

My brothers and sisters, there is an alternative to this specter of “Everyday Is Newtown in America.” God has a different plan for our lives and for our world. God offers us a plan to have a change of heart and turn away from sin. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the one sent by the Father who can save us from our sin and restore us to life. God’s life. He is the one whose name we are called to carry to this Newtown world of ours.


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