The Sacredness Of Life

by Rev. Mark Connolly

I would like to share a few thoughts with you on the subject of the sacredness of life and the shortness of life. If you go back to last year, July 1999, every television and every newspaper was filled with the tragedy of the Kennedy story that included the loss of his wife and his sister-in-law. No matter if we find all the reasons why that plane went down, we are still left with the horrible fact that three young people in the prime of their lives, lost their lives. If you go back a few days before that to the City of Atlanta, you will find that the same television channels and newspapers covered the story of a man who shot his wife and two children and then killed nine others because he thought they were conspiring against him. Even if we do all the investigation in the world and come up with total explanations as to why this man acted in this violent and bizarre way, we are still left with the fact that over twelve people died who undoubtedly had plans for their own future and their own lives. The sacredness of their lives was denied by this one man who went on a violent shooting spree.

Over the years you can multiply tragedies of this sort. We read them, we are horrified by them and then because we hear so many we become desensitized and go about our own life without too much reflection on the sacredness of our own lives. St. Augustine in the Fourth Century once said, we do not have on this earth a lasting city. And commentators have said he was really reminding all of us that our time on this earth is sacred and short and that sacredness of life should be a theme that should be constantly meditated upon by each one of us. If you compare our lives to the hundreds of thousands of galaxies in the solar system, if you compare our lives to the billions of years that our earth and galaxy have existed, our time on this earth is very, very brief. On the day when we were baptized we entered an organization called the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ. He left us a map of life, he left us directives, he left us ideas on how we should go about preserving our own sacredness of life while we are on this earth.

First of all he taught us the value of time. The same God gives to each one of us over the centuries 1440 minutes per day. Jesus Christ reminded us to sanctify each day and not worry about tomorrow. He made it very clear when he said, "give us today our daily bread and sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." Basically this part of the Our Father reminds us that if we are going to have sacredness of life we have to be anchored to God and grafted to Christ so that the teachings of Jesus Christ spoken about centuries ago become realities in our every day way of living. Just as we are taught never to waste food or waste energy, Jesus Christ for the short period of life that we are on this earth reminds us of the sacred commodity we call time. You and I in the plan of God from the day we are baptized made a covenant with Christ that indicated we would follow his teachings during this short period of time that we have on earth. One of his great teachings is love your neighbor as you love yourself. One of the great wastes in Catholic living today is carrying so much guilt or baggage from the past. God has given us just today. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is reality. Every aspect of your life, especially concerning any past sin or transgression has already been wiped away by the mercy and love of a God who wants you to serve him well on this earth and be happy with him in the next. Each one of us has, because of the victory of Christ on Good Friday, a place called heaven awaiting us. But that is based on how we serve and love our god on earth. Love of neighbor is a directive that God has given to us. That love of neighbor is often shown by us not just in the acts of kindness or goodness that we share with our neighbor, but also in the way we speak about our neighbor.

When you look at all of the domestic violence cases of husband to wife and wife to husband, and parents to children and children to each other, most of those acts of domestic violence that eventually become physical all start off by violations of the tongue. Things like defamation of character, slander, calling names, ruining another, are often started in the confines of the family. Your homes are as good as your tongues. If your tongues are filled with compassion and charity and encouragement, your homes will be a Christ-like home. Your home will radiate sacredness of life toward each other. In so many Catholic homes today we fail to appreciate that person sitting next to us at the dining room table. We expect others to honor them, but we ourselves fail to do the same thing that we demand from others. Concerning berating each other, talking about each other in the home, there is one common axiom that should be kept in mind. Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. What category are you in?

When we talk about sacredness of life and shortness of life, we have to keep in mind we have no guarantee as to how long we are going to be on this earth. Of the last several funerals I have had the ages of the deceased have been 35, 33 and 28. We seem to think that because an individual gets older that individual will die first. So often we forget we have the tragedy of youthfulness in the Kennedy death and the tragedy of the middle age workers who were killed in Atlanta, Georgia. Each day the members of AA have to remember the simple principle they live by is not only one day at a time, but that yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery and today is reality. All we have as much as we might plan is today. All you have is your family today. All you have is each other today.

When Christ allowed us to enter his Church he gave us a map of life that was intended to help us reverence our own sacredness at life. Jesus Christ told us that we should love one another. Jesus Christ, out of love for us, died for us. The same Jesus Christ would remind you that your life is precious, your time on this earth is sacred, and whatever you do live a life that through your sacredness will give honor and glory to you as a Catholic and honor and glory to the God who gave you your faith.

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