In time for the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota presided over an annual Mass and led a procession over 700 people to a local abortion clinic last Sunday, encountering oppositional protestors for the first time.
He then encouraged those present to pray for the gift of fortitude “to be those people who constantly remind our society and remind others that life is a gift…that every human being created is created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of conception…that every human being has the right to life.”
The bishop also explained that the holy water that would be used to sprinkle the facility showed “prayers for purification…in terms of reparation for what happens there because, ultimately, it is the murder of unborn that takes place there.” Watterud told CNA that later at the procession following the sprinkling, Bishop Aquila again took the monstrance into his hands and continued back to the Cathedral, while parishioners in attendance prayed the Rosary while walking. (Source)
It is fitting, I think, that this great bishop would bring Jesus Christ to a place Our Lord is very familiar with. It’s a place of unbelievable agony and despair. But it is also place that Jesus freely chose to accept and journey to. It is the place where He carried His cross to, so He could be nailed there and breath his last breath.
And now, 2000 years later, He chooses to come again at the hands of a holy bishop. This time, however, He does not come as a man. He comes as our Eucharistic Lord, hidden behind the form of bread, and piercing this present darkness with His Glory. But what is this familiar place that this bishop has brought Jesus to?
“Golgotha” means ‘the place of the Skull’ in both Greek and Aramaic. It was the place where the Romans executed Jesus 2000 years ago on the Cross.
They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. (John 19:17-18)
One tradition says it was so named because of the Roman practice of executing insurrectionists and having their skulls scattered around. Today, of course, we don’t think of such a place as existing, except in distant history, far detached from the modern world’s illusions that we live in some kind of “just society” where such barbarity is no longer tolerated or accepted. But if we look with the eyes of Faith – indeed if we look with honest eyes whether they are religious or not – we will admit that, not only is Golgotha present again in our midst with even worse brutality, it is present in thousands of cities and towns across the world in the abortion mills that crush the skulls of the unborn, scourge and burn their bodies, and destroy human dignity. And there are other similarities too between the Golgotha of Jesus and the Golgotha of the Unborn Child…
At Golgotha, there is an innocent and pure lamb offered on the altar of sacrifice.
At Golgotha, there is a Mother who loves her child but is forced to watch him die because ‘her people’ say he must die.
At Golgotha, the leaders of the Church have fled, except one.
At Golgotha, there are those passing by and hurling abuse and spittle…
At Golgotha, there are those who turn their eyes and keep on walking.
At Golgotha, there are those who stare in amusement or shock for a moment, and move on.
At Golgotha, there are only a faithful remnant at the foot of the cross, witnessing to and communing with the Victim.
At Golgotha, commerce and industry happen all around it, the people oblivious to what is happening right in their midst.
At Golgotha, the religious leaders and politicians wash their hands of innocent blood, preferring the pressing issues of the day like the census and the environment.
At Golgotha, people are cut to the heart and converted instantly.
At Golgotha, there is a mocking inscription [“Women’s Health Clinic”].
At Golgotha, there is death and despair.
But after Golgotha, there is hope and resurrection because the power of death will not prevail over Christ and His Church.
After Golgotha, there is healing and forgiveness for everyone who asks.
After Golgotha, the Woman crushes the head of the Serpent.
After Golgotha, the leaders of the Church recover and preach the Gospel of Life, in season and out.
After Golgotha, millions convert to the Faith.
After Golgotha, the remnant recall and glorify their witness to Jesus.
After Golgotha, our victorious King says to the Queen Mother (Cf. Esther 5), “Behold, I make all things new.”