Celebrant: We gather strength from the example of Jesus and his disciples. As a people of faith, we join together to ask the Father’s help and to bring him all our needs.
That all members of the Church may be strengthened by the Spirit to be ever-faithful to their baptismal calling to proclaim Christ to the world, we pray to the Lord…
That bishops, priests and deacons may continue to lead us to encounters with God in the Scriptures and in the sacraments, we pray to the Lord…
That world leaders may recognize God as the source of true authority, and may seek mercy and freedom for all people, we pray to the Lord…
That the Church may preach with compassion the need of repentance from all sins against life, and point the way to a new reverence for those who are poor, weak, unwanted, and unborn, we pray to the Lord…
That those gathered in our community of faith may embrace God’s message of compassion and forgiveness, we pray to the Lord…
That those who have died may have peace and joy in the presence of God, whom they served on earth, we pray to the Lord…
Celebrant: God our Father, as we bring you these petitions, grant that we may grow in appreciation of the beauty and wonder of your creation. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
“This is the ultimate meaning of the Cross: not to seek life for oneself, but to give one’s own life. …”I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live” (Dt 30: 16). At first sight we may not like this, but it is the way: the option for life and the option for God are identical. The Lord says so in St John’s Gospel: “This is eternal life, that they know you” (Jn 17: 3).
“Human life is a relationship. It is only in a relationship, and not closed in on ourselves, that we can have life. And the fundamental relationship is the relationship with the Creator, or else other relations are fragile. Hence, it is essential to choose God. A world empty of God, a world that has forgotten God, loses life and relapses into a culture of death. Choosing life, taking the option for life, therefore, means first and foremost choosing the option of a relationship with God.” – Pope Benedict XVI, March 2006.
Am 7:12-15 Eph 1:3-14 or 1:3-10 Mk 6:7-13
The apostles were called to “to preach repentance,” as is the Church today. This is a key aspect of being a “prophet” (First reading). It’s not so much about telling the future as it is about telling the present, pointing out to God’s people how fidelity to Him today means we have to change.
A key aspect of repentance in our present circumstances is suggested by the Second Reading, which is all about God’s choice. He chose us in Christ before the world began. That in itself is a subject for profound reflection. Before anything ever existed, before the first event that any history book relates, we were already chosen to exist, to believe, and to be holy. God knew us, wanted us, and loved us.
What this reveals is that God’s choice is primary. Human choice is secondary. “It was not you who chose me,” Jesus teaches elsewhere, “But I who chose you” (Jn. 15:16). “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Since God first chose each human person to exist, no human can choose for them not to exist. “Pro-choice” is a mentality that puts our choice above God’s, and therefore is contrary to the lesson of these readings. “Pro-choice” essentially says that we have responsibility only to those lives for which we choose to have responsibility. Scripture teaches, on the other hand, that we have responsibility for others before we choose, and that in choosing, we have the duty to take that pre-existing responsibility into account. Here lies a key aspect of repentance, for us personally and for our culture.