“All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Declaration of Independence.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water… Jesus answered, If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:6-10
“I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I set before you life and death, blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
As we have our pro-life Mass this Twenty-seventh Sunday, we notice how some would make the issue one of when life begins. Before we can ascertain when life begins, we must first understand what it is. The problem in our nation is that there is no clear definition.
In his definition of “Chai/life,” Rabbi Jastrow lists “Life,” then goes on to relate it to health. John 4, quoted above refers to “Living Water.” That is a Hebraism for moving/flowing. Life moves. The Greek, “Zoe,” also has the primary meaning of healthy. The Latin, “Vīvācĭtas,” means having a natural vigor, a vital force, and then lists an English word of the same root, “Vivacious.” This means to be alive/vibrant.
Does this mean that ill people are not alive? Deuteronomy 30 answers. “Choose life.” At every moment in life, in every breath, choose life. The Jerusalem Post a generation or so ago argued, All life is life in potential/in potentiality. “Choose life,” means bringing each person’s potential to fruition. One giving life, like Jesus, sees the sick and brings them back to life. The pre-born are potential life, if not life. The argument of when life begins becomes moot. If the pre-born are not alive, properly speaking, they are potential life, entitled to all the same privileges.
Similarly, Deuteronomy 30, “This Mitzvah, I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, for you to say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart.”
We need to stop looking with concepts, and start looking with our ears, and hearing with our eyes. The truth is not in the head but in the heart. Dead baby pictures work, and dead, and dying pictures of those in poverty is supposed to work because we see with the eyes of Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Concepts kill! Eyes and ears give life! Are we like Jesus, promoting life/health?