The theme for the service was, “The Miracle of Life in the Womb,” centering on the subject of conception and birth.
“In times of famine or disaster or extreme poverty, people search intensely for food and drink merely to survive. In hard times people often dream about a banquet of rich food and drink,” said the archbishop. “For millennia, the People of God have looked forward to a dinner at the end of time when they will sit down at table in peace with one another and with the Lord as host.”
In the first reading at the Mass, Isaiah sees this taking place in the heavenly Jerusalem at a time when all strife has ended — there are no more wars or threats of war, no more accidents or violence, no more abortions or assisted suicides — when all tears will be wiped away — a time of joy and happiness, not sorrow and anxiety!
“It is clear to all of us that we are not yet at the point of this eschatological banquet but we look forward to it in faith and hope!” Archbishop Gustavo elaborated.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus alludes to this heavenly banquet in his parable to the chief priests and elders who opposed him. He tells of a royal wedding feast to whom select guests had been invited.
“However, when the time came to attend the banquet, some refused to come, others ignored the invitation, and still others murdered the messengers! The king then sent out servants to invite everyone they could find. However, there is a warning,” the San Antonio prelate explained. “Just being invited or showing up at the divine banquet is not enough. We also must dress properly — being clothed in true justice and love towards others.”
The archbishop emphasized that the Scriptures tell about the innate dignity and worth of every human life created in the “image and likeness” of God.
“Our mission as disciples of the risen Lord is not only to proclaim the gospel of love but also to live in accord with it. This includes striving consistently to protect and defend every human life from conception to natural death at all stages and in all circumstances,” he stressed. “If we persevere and live the gospel message of deep respect for the gift and dignity of every human life, we will be properly clothed when the eschatological banquet takes place, and we will have a reserved seat there. Always dress appropriately — with the clothing of justice and peace, unity and harmony.”
Archbishop closed by saying that Our Lady of Guadalupe is always with us, as she promised. “She will show us the way to respect every person we encounter, especially those who may be different from us in any way.”