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Acts of the Apostles 7:51 - 8:1

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: “You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.”

They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.

But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. “I can see heaven thrown open,” he said, “and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and said aloud, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.
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John 6:30-35

The people said to Jesus: “What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

Jesus answered:

“I tell you most solemnly,
it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven,
it is my Father who gives you bread from heaven,
the true bread;
for the bread of God
is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread always.” Jesus answered:

“I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.”

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Recently, I read an article that says that majority of the people in the largely Catholic country of the Philippines are open to the use of contraceptives. That troubles me, because a person who approves of the use of contraceptives is very likely to also approve of abortion. Why? Simply because abortion finishes the job where contraceptives fail.

No contraceptive is 100% foolproof. There is always a certain failure rate. Contraceptives are used when a couple does not want children. When a child is conceived “by accident”, it is unwanted and hence aborted.

When I read today’s first reading, where the elders of the people shout out and stop their ears, I imagine a person stopping their ears and going, “La la la! I am not hearing anything you are saying!” What’s amazing is that our ears, unlike our eyes, cannot be closed naturally. We have eyelids to prevent something from entering our eyes, but we have no earlids. We need to use something, like our hands, to prevent unwanted things from entering.

A woman’s vagina also doesn’t close naturally. We need to use something to prevent “unwanted” things from entering if we do not want the natural biological result. But the Church does not forbid contraception because it is artificial, for if it did, then the Church would have to forbid all forms of Western medicine as well.

No, the Church forbids contraception because it goes against the natural order of human beings. That natural order tells us that when a man and a woman engages in sexual intercourse, the man’s sperm enters the woman’s vagina and into her womb. This process is necessary for the sperm to meet the egg, fertilize it, and allow life to be created. This brings life into the world.

When we use contraceptives, we are behaving like the elders of the people in today’s first reading, stopping our ears and shouting out to prevent “unwanted” things from falling into our lives. In so doing, we prevent life from entering into our worlds, our lives. When we do this, we deprive our world, our life, of vitality. We die slowly from the inside, because we say ‘no’ to God, the giver of life. The proof is in the ordinary progression when contraceptives fail. The fruit of contraception is abortion, the snuffing out of a life.

When you approve of contraception, you cannot help but approve of abortion, because they are related. But there is hope yet, for God’s mercy extends beyond our sinfulness. Jesus has told us, “Anyone who eats my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life.” Jesus is the answer to the culture of death that approves of contraception and abortion. Go to him for life. Receive him in the sacraments that give us unlimited grace to go through life in full support and approval of the culture of life.
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Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we pray for the Catholics in the world who approve and practise contraception. We ask that they may come to realise their refusal to allow Jesus, the prince of life, to enter into their lives, and that through your Holy Spirit, they may turn from their evil ways and enter into eternal life with you. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The Church, the guardian of truth and life.

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