National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, commemorated on October 15, offers a day of remembrance to parents, family, and friends for pregnancy loss and infant death. Pregnancy loss and infant death may include but are not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn. The following homily was delivered by Bishop Jaime Soto on Tuesday, October 13 at the St. Mary Cemetery & Funeral Center during a Memorial Mass for the Unborn (WATCH) in anticipation of this annual remembrance.
To lose a child before birth brings a sadness that reverberates through us all. In the very moment of conception, a child becomes part of a family. He or she also becomes part of our common humanity. This Mass today remembers all of them. In the mystery of the communion we celebrate in this Eucharist, we come together with them to pray. We recognize the oneness, the communion of life, which death cannot undo. A bond of humanity endures, a bond created by God. Even though these human lives were cut short before birth, these little children have their purpose in God’s plan, their place in God’s kingdom.
We remember those children lost before birth due to natural causes. We also remember the little boys and girls lost through abortion. In all these cases, an emptiness remains that only can be filled by the boundless mercy of God.
In the first reading, St. Paul reminds us to rely on faith working through love. We rely solely on Christ Jesus. In the footsteps of Christ we practice our faith with love. Faith does not despair or punish. Faith looks beyond judgment and condemnation. Faith, working through love, brings healing, reconciliation, and communion in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
In the gospel today, Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees. Jesus responded by reminded them and us to focus on what is inside, to look at the heart. We gather here this morning to heal the aching heart of women and families.
To lose a child leaves us with a poverty that only the rich mercy of Jesus can fill. We pray for all women and families who have lost a child before birth. May the good Lord Jesus come to their hearts and fill the emptiness with his abundant charity.
Where a life has been lost, may Jesus fill with his lifegiving charity.