Celebrant: As brothers and sisters in Christ who trust in God's wisdom and love, we present our prayers and petitions for the needs of the world.
That the Church may be ever-grateful for the gift of faith and may ever grow and respond to the word of God proclaimed in the Gospels, we pray to the Lord.
That the pope and all the clergy may bring the faithful to a deeper knowledge and love of God through their preaching and teaching, we pray to the Lord.
That government leaders may exercise their authority and power in ways that show compassion to those who are underprivileged and suffering, we pray to the Lord.
That we may echo Peter's profession of faith, that Christ is indeed the Son of God and the alone has dominion over the precious gift of human life, we pray to the Lord.
That those who are suffering from the effects of war and violence may receive God's peace and the help and strength to rebuild their lives, we pray to the Lord.
That those who have died may be welcomed into God's heavenly kingdom, we pray to the Lord.
Celebrant: Loving Father, as you hear and answer our prayers, grant that we may know and accept your loving will in our lives. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Learning to Love
In Washington, DC in 1994 Mother Teresa said that we fight abortion by teaching the mother what love really means: "to be willing to give until it hurts...So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child." Gustave Thibon has said that the true God transforms violence into suffering, while the false god transforms suffering into violence. The woman tempted to have an abortion will transform her suffering into violence unless she allows love to transform her, and make her willing to give herself away. The Eucharist gives both the lesson and the power. Mom is to say "This is my body, my blood, my life, given up for you my child."
Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18bEph 5:21-32 or 5:2a, 25-32Jn 6:60-69
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The apostles “have come to believe and are convinced” that Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, even if they don’t understand his words about “eating his flesh and drinking his blood,” they know he is trustworthy. There is, indeed, no evidence here that these words made any more sense to Peter and the other apostles than they did to the ones who turned away. But as St. Thomas Aquinas would write centuries later in the hymn “Adoro Te Devote,” “What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do. Truth himself speaks truly, or there’s nothing true.”
Faith is not totally blind. It begins with “motives of credibility.” In other words, we have solid reasons for believing the One we believe – we don’t just trust anyone who comes along and says he has a message from God. But once we have those solid reasons, then the trust we place in that person leads us to knowledge that reason alone could never reach.
The Church, moreover, does not reject “freedom of choice,” properly understood. God demands that we choose, as Joshua told the people (First reading) and as the hearers of Jesus did. Yet when we choose for God, those choices have corollaries and consequences. Choosing God in fact means choosing life. Pope Benedict told the Roman clergy on March 2, 2006: “Choosing life, taking the option for life, therefore, means first and foremost choosing the option of a relationship with God. However, the question immediately arises: with which God? Here, once again, the Gospel helps us: with the God who showed us his face in Christ, the God who overcame hatred on the Cross, that is, in love to the very end. Thus, by choosing this God, we choose life.”
We choose again in the Eucharist. Coming to Communion, we are renewing our fundamental choice to serve God, to believe Christ, to live as the Church teaches. The Church does not propose “maybes” to us, but certainties, by which we then find the strength to do what Paul describes in the second reading: to give ourselves away for each other. He speaks of a mutual subordination and self-giving love of husband to wife. The Church by no means degrades women, but rather sees them as a symbol of the Church herself, the bride of Christ. All in the Church are called to the self-giving love that Christ lived.