Last summer, as I passed through the familiar streets of Chesterfield, where I serve as a priest, I was caught up in a blaze of celebration. The otherwise peaceful town centre had become the scene of a victory parade. Swept up in the noisy atmosphere of a cheering crowd, I watched the members of Chesterfield’s local football team, the ‘Spireites’, process through the town like champions on an open-top bus. Of course, they really were champions, having just been crowned Champions of Division Two and promoted to Division One. The scene was one of great joy and hope in victory.
Next week we will take part in what seems like a very different kind of procession. As we march through the city centre of Birmingham, our ‘March for Life’ might feel like anything but a victory. Is it an act of defiance? Do we feel like a small band of resistance fighters, marching against an invincible army? Are we really outnumbered, outgunned, in this fight? Or do we have reason to hope? I suggest we do. In fact, I suggest that the March for Life UK is a victory parade!
Clearly, this needs some explanation. First, we need to recognise who our opponents are, and who they are not. Our opponents are not those from the so-called ‘pro-choice’ or pro-abortion lobby. Our opponents are not those who decide and make our laws, nor are they those who earn a living from the abortion industry. Our opponents are not those who might respond negatively when they see us marching through Birmingham–and they most certainly are not those poor mothers and fathers who have been fed and swallowed the lie of abortion. None of these are our opponents. Rather, they are our brothers and sisters!
We will not be marching against our brother and sisters. We will be marching for them. We hope to help them, to heal them, to love them and to open their eyes to the truth: that the precious gift carried in the womb of a pregnant mother is in fact a human being, a life with dignity and rights, and with so much potential.
Who, then, is our real enemy? Who are we really marching against? Our enemies are spirits and our march is spiritual. We defy those who feed the culture of death, those who darken the minds and hearts of so many of our brothers and sisters. Our enemies are unseen–they are demons and forces of darkness. This might sound terrible, frightening even. How can we possibly hope to defeat such an enemy?
Well, here’s the good news: we don’t have to defeat them. Why? Because the forces of darkness–the forces of death–are already defeated! The victory has already been won. It was won two thousand years ago, when Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose again to new life three days later. His is the victory over darkness and death, and all we have to do is to keep celebrating this victory. In fact, it is only when we stop celebrating that our enemies gain strength.
So remember–our March for Life is indeed a victory parade! But we have a champion and a cause worth celebrating more than any other. Jesus Christ is our champion, and this is His victory. The victory has been won, a victory that proclaims hope, healing and the goodness of being alive. Make sure that the witness you give to this victory is positive. You witness to hope through love. And it is only through our witness, our hope, and our love, that we can help to heal the wounds, correct the lies, and save our brothers and sisters from the terrible industry of abortion.
Let’s make our March for Life a celebration! We have a champion who is stronger than our enemies. He is the One who unites us in hope. It is in jubilation we proclaim the Gospel of Life, it is in peace and love that we witness to the victory of Jesus Christ.