Monday, June 14, 2021

11th Sunday OT (Cycle B) The Columbia Pregnancy Center

(Mk 4:26-34)
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. 

    Last Thursday I attended the yearly dinner and fundraiser for the Columbia Pregnancy Center. An organization which provides services to women in crisis pregnancies. This year, they are celebrating their 40th anniversary, and are hoping to raise close to $300,000 to continue their work of providing women in need with a better choice than Abortion. Which to many women, seems to be the only viable choice our culture has to offer.

     I was very pleased to see a good compliment from St Michael’s parishioners there, especially from the Knights of Columbus and the Respect Life committee .  I tried to mingle as much as possible and say “hi” to all, but there were just too many people so if you were there and I missed you please forgive me.

    We heard some very good speakers, all women who have experienced motherhood, some who had experienced abortions and now regret this decision deeply; others who by the work this center does of educating and providing support,  where able to take their pregnancies to term and now have healthy and babies.

    Usually you hear pro-abortion advocates say that we pro-lifers like to help woman have their baby but that after the baby is born we don’t care anymore about mother and child. If anyone ever gives you that argument, send them to this center and they will see the work pro-lifers are doing to help families  before, during and after the baby is born.

    One of the speakers told us about the humble beginnings of this center. And how this was just the idea of two pro life women who felt they needed to do more to help pregnant women. As she was telling this story I kept thinking about one of the Lord’s parables in today’s reading. How the mustard seed is the smallest and least impressive of all seeds when it is planted and how it grows to become a large plant and its branches grow so big that the birds of the sky come to enjoy its shade. 

    From its humble beginnings this center now helps about 1200 families a year to safely deliver healthy babies. Babies that are wanted and loved. Babies that without this support most likely would have never seen the light of day.  In my mind I could see how everyone of these babies was like a bird resting securely under the shadow provided by volunteers, staff and friends of this center.

    To paraphrase the Lord in today’s readings.  The kingdom of God is composed of many seeds the farmer plants into fertile ground and then sits and waits to see how much fruit each plant will provide. The seed the Lord planted right in the center of our community has become a big strong tree, and has produced much fruit for the last 40 years.

   As it always happens in events like this,  one of the speakers gave us a bunch of statistics about everything they had accomplished during the last year. Perhaps it is the engineer in me but whenever I hear numbers my brain just pays attention. Because of this there was one statistic that hit me like a hammer: Even after all the work and effort of the good people volunteering their time to this center last year of all the women who have sought their  help only 82%  decided to keep their babies. This might sound good to some but it also means that last year, right here in our Howard County Community (And please forgive me, but there is no other way of saying this) 216 babies had their lives extinguished because  women thought that the help offered by our prolife efforts was not enough.

       So this tree planted by the Lord 40 years ago is still trying to find its full potential.  It is by the efforts of communities like St Michaels that this work can continue, and we should be proud of our achievements, but also keep in mind that the work is not yet done. There is room to grow, work to be done and lives to be saved. 

     I pray that in the year ahead more and more people here at St Michael’s get involved in the fight against the great evil that is abortion, and that they lend their time and voices to help women who have no other place to turn than the Columbia Pregnancy Center.  GBMBAS