Friday 22nd October – St John Paul II – Lk 12, 54-59

“Why not judge for yourselves what is right?”  Today is the second reading in the House of Lords to propose a new bill permitting assisted suicide for terminally ill adults who have under six months to live.

Cardinal Nichols and other faith leaders have highlighted the risks and dangers that this entails.  The common good is not served by policies or actions that would place many vulnerable people in dangerous vulnerable positions.  The Cardinal requests for measures to make high quality palliative care available to everyone, who are at the end of their lives.  The aim should be of a compassionate society in ‘assisted living’, rather than ‘assisted suicide’.

Today we remember St Pope John Paul II, a Pope who promoted ‘Life’ and in his encyclical letters he talked about the evils of Abortion, Euthanasia, and the Death Penalty in the modern world.

He makes it clear that the Church’s tradition was always to reject suicide as a gravely evil choice.  It involves the rejection of love of self and the obligation of Justice and Charity towards our neighbour.

St John Paul continues to say, the life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, because man is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his Glory.  We have been given a sublime dignity that shines forth a reflection of God himself.  At the moment of our conception, our life must be guarded with the greatest of care.  Death is considered ‘senseless’ if it suddenly interrupts a life, that is still open to a future of new and interesting experiences.  Pope John Paul clearly states that assisted suicide is a grave violation of the law of God since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person, which can never be excused, even if, it is requested.

We are the ‘People of Life’ because God in his unconditional love has given us the ‘Gospel of Life’.  We have been ransomed by the ‘Author of Life’ at the price of Jesus’ precious blood.  Throughout our life’s journey we are guided and sustained by the law of love.  A love which has, as its source, the Son of God made man, who by dying gave life to the world.  Everyone has an obligation to be at the service of life, which requires a generous action by all members of the Christian community. 

So let us today as a community place before the altar, our worries and concerns, asking for this bill to be dismissed and a greater focus be placed on a high-quality end of life care for all terminally ill patients, and asking the Lord to give Parliament the gift, to judge for themselves what is right in the sight of God.