A recent Gallup Poll showed that young people are significantly more pro-life than adults. According to the poll, “most U.S. teens (aged 13 to 17) do not consider abortion to be morally acceptable, and most also believe that it should only be legal under specific circumstances, if at all.” Fewer than one in five teens (19%) believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances.
These results surprised people - especially when you consider that young people are constantly subjected to two institutions dominated by pro-choice people: the media and education. However they also belong to another institution which is more powerful than media and education combined, namely the family. The majority of children belong to pro-life families for the simple - and obvious - reason that pro-lifers tend to have larger families. A study by Population Research Institute indicates that pro-lifers are “out-reproducing” pro-abortion people three to one. Those who identify themselves as pro-life have an average of three children while those who call themselves “pro-choice” have an average of one.* (I have had none, but I hope some pro-life couple will make up for that by having four or even five.)
I mention this on New Year’s Day for a reason. We need to remind ourselves that the the family has the greatest influence in forming a young person's values and convictions. Today’s readings are very much about handing on a tradition, that is giving to ones children what one most deeply prizes. Aaron gives that wonderful blessing to his sons (Num 6:24ff.). St. Paul announces the central event of human history which took place “in the fullness of time.” (Gal 4:4) And the Mary and Joseph present Jesus for the ancient rite of circumcision.
Aaron, Paul, Joseph and Mary handed on their tradition – not as a mere formality – but as something they deeply believed. Our young people will follow us if we teach them what we ourselves cherish. They will, of course, see through superficiality. That is why it is so important for us to follow the example of the Virgin. She “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19)
You might protest that Mary had the advantage of the physical presence of Jesus. But you and I have the Blessed Sacrament – both on our altar at Mass and in our adoration chapel. To spend time before Him would be the best of New Year’s resolutions. Only then we will be in a position to transmit the finest inheritance to our children.
*Another factor which needs to be considered in understanding why most young people are pro-life is the delicate issue of abortion survivors.
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin: Wedding in Arandas
(Plus pictures of Blessed Luis' Granddaughters)
Bulletin (Christmas Blessings, Burn Victim, Sharon Carriere Memorial Fund)
Protestants paying more attention to Virgin Mary