Homily delivered during the Eucharistic Celebration
By His Eminence, Alfonso Card. Lopez Trujillo
President, Pontifical Council for the Family
On the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of
The Eternal Word Television Network
Birmingham, Alabama, August 13, 2006
My dear brothers and
sisters in Christ,
It is a great honor and
joy for me to preside over this solemn concelebration, as we thank the
Father of mercies from the bottom of our hearts. Twenty five years ago,
Divine Providence inspired with an original and surprising initiative a
religious sister who has dedicated her life in the Lord’s service in the
Church, our beloved and esteemed Mother Angelica. The Eternal Word
Television Network was born to bring the Word of Life to millions of
believers throughout the world.
Mother Angelica created
this wonderful service to the Church, a service that knows no bounds.
How can we fail to thank the Lord whenever you broadcast the Holy
Father’s important celebrations during all these fruitful years? EWTN’s
activities extend in a special way to the defense and promotion of
family and life, a charism truly dear to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict.
One among the many examples is EWTN’s generous coverage of the Fifth
World Meeting of Families held in Valencia, Spain, last month, an
event full of extraordinary faith. For this, the Pontifical Council for
the Family is deeply grateful.
The project that at
first seemed strange and too bold began in silence, prayer, and
self-giving to the Lord. But its present consolidation and reach suggest
to us a secret and a key that draw our attention and inspire our renewed
appreciation. For indeed our beloved Mother Angelica was not a
communications expert. Her initial and timid presentations attracted a
large audience through her simplicity and sincerity, manifest in
dialogues full of love for the truth and the teachings of the Church,
with an unusual sense of humor and penetration, sealed by confident
hope. This excellent work in the television, radio and the internet, has
evolved into a most powerful means of proclaiming the Gospel which the
world needs as desperately as we need fresh air.
What then is Mother
Angelica’s secret? What is the key to her work’s effectiveness? Faithful
to the project placed in God’s hands, we are led to the prayer of the
Responsorial Psalm: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Confidence in the Lord is the essential ingredient of this project. But
it is a confidence that leads us to a more profound cause that
corresponds to this Sunday’s theme: the Holy Eucharist, the great source
of strength for our spirit.
Christ, the Bread of
Everlasting Life, has moved the hearts of many to enthusiastically
collaborate and dedicate their gifts and talents for this specific work
of Evangelization. Mother Angelica has laid out an ample, varied and
rich programming, explaining Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium of
the Church to lead viewers, listeners and navigators to its center,
Jesus Christ. EWTN transmits the truth that what gives full meaning to
our lives is loving service, and stimulates us to have the courage of
faith, knowing that we are God’s children, in today’s world that risks
moving away from the truth and not listening to the Lord, who says, “I
am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
I imagine that there have also been
reasons to worry. Doing good is not an easy task. To believe has its
price. Whoever dedicates one’s life to the Word Incarnate, whoever
proclaims Christ as our only Savior, is never exempted from the Cross.
In Jesus, St. John of the Cross says, everything has been given to us.
In the first reading of our Mass we see
the prophet Elijah tired along the way as he struggles to preach God
against the idols, and declaring his defeat. The same temptation surely
exists today. For example, it pains us to see attempts to modify God’s
original plan for marriage and the family, and to sow a culture hostile
to it, as if God were not the Lord of the family and life. Some
parliaments come up with unjust laws that destroy the union of life and
love in the mutual self-giving of a man and a woman: a commitment that
in God’s plan is exclusive, faithful, until death and open to life.
Without the support and example of parents, the children’s future is
undermined. False and impossible alternatives are promoted, dehumanizing
man and woman, the child, and the youth, not respecting them as persons,
as God’s images and children. Man is betrayed in his dignity. He is
treated as if he were an instrument, a thing!
But God’s angel fed the prophet, helped
him to set on the way, and to continue living the adventure of his
vocation. Likewise, we should not fall into the temptation of simply
giving up, for the Lord feeds us with his flesh and blood, and with the
Father sends to us his Spirit as our strength. In this regard, we thank
our providential Network for exposing the abominable crime of abortion
and the many other attacks against human life. Crime is converted into a
right, as the Servant of God Pope John Paul II explained, and is
defended in many world forums, governments and parliaments. But as Pope
Benedict XVI recently said, there are matters which cannot be
The Church denounces inhuman conduct
that according to the great theologian Romano Guardini, produces the
infirmity of the spirit, resulting in a spirit without truth, freedom
and hope. EWTN, reaching more than a hundred million homes on earth,
gives a firm testimony that God lives, loves us, defends our dignity,
redeems us at the price of His blood, and invites us not to sadden the
Spirit. We have to imitate God, as his dearly beloved children,
following the way of love, as the Letter to the Ephesians says: ¿How can
we hate what God loves, or despise the human being, as if we were not
concerned with him? We cannot follow the logic of love without following
Christ’s example, in his supreme self-giving on the Cross to the Father.
From a degradation that enslaves, only love can liberate us through the
Gospel, the Good News of Christ who died and resurrected. With
legitimate pride, continue your witness to the whole world. Only in this
mystery of our faith can we preserve the world from ethical relativism
and from the various forms of confusion that imprison the truth and
generates the culture of death!
The Church, the community of believers,
lives through the Bread of Life come down from heaven. The Church
maintains her permanent youthfulness in the celebration of the Last
Supper and the Paschal Sacrifice, the source of daily strength for
Mother Angelica, her Sisters, the Franciscan Missionary community that
she founded, and us all. This is the secret of this work that for us is
like a continuous miracle, as we respond to the great challenges of
May Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who carried in her womb the
Savior of the world, continue to bless you and give you the freshness of
the spirit to respond to the call of Jesus, the only one who has the
Words of everlasting Life.