Celebrant: We worship a God who hears our prayers. Let us then present to the Father all our needs with the greatest confidence.
That the Church will always reflect the generous love, mercy and compassion of Christ, we pray to the Lord.
That those who serve in ordained ministries in the Church may be living examples of Christ and inspire the faithful to transform the world, we pray to the Lord.
For the strength to deny ourselves and put others first, to welcome strangers, to visit prisoners, and to protect unborn children, we pray to the Lord.
That all who are sick and in distress may be comforted by those who care for them and encouraged by our prayers, we pray to the Lord.
That all who have died may rest in God's peace, and those who grieve for them may have consolation, we pray to the Lord.
Loving God, in your great mercy and goodness you provide for our spiritual and material needs. Grant the prayers we have offered you today, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
From Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
“But I feel a great destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the scripture, for God says very clearly. "Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of My Hand." We are carved in the palm of His Hand; so close to Him, that unborn child has been carved in the Hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even a mother could forget something impossible—but even if she could forget -- "I will not forget you." And today the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here—our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us.” – Lecture upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Oslo, Norway, Dec. 11, 1979.
Is 50:5-9aJas 2:14-18Mk 8:27-35
Watch a video with homily hints
“You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” This Gospel rebuke of Jesus to Peter applies to us all. In particular, we tend to think that to be successful in our efforts to win people over to the Gospel and the pro-life message, we have to be popular. This is a human way of thinking, that does not give enough room to the role that the cross, and persecution, play in the plan God has for us. The fact is that people are converted by the truth of the message and by the integrity and faithfulness with which we convey that message even in the face of opposition. People are not ultimately inspired or converted by crowd-pleasers, but by God-pleasers.
Jesus, of course, gives the primary example of this. The fact that the Gospel passage indicates that some people thought he was John the Baptist or Elijah or one of the other prophets gives us a good insight into what he was like. John the Baptist, Elijah, and the prophets were tough preachers, proclaiming hard truths and inviting all kinds of opposition and persecution. A homily on this Gospel might well go back to some of the preaching of these men to illustrate this point.
Success does not require popularity; rather, it requires fidelity. This is a particularly valuable lesson in relation to our efforts to proclaim the sanctity of human life in the face of abortion. People who attack the messenger are, nevertheless, impacted by the message. That’s the very reason they are attacking.
The second reading illustrates the goal of our efforts, namely, not to simply bring people to “believe” in the sanctity of life, but to have them practice it. We are called to respond concretely to the needs of the people we proclaim are sacred. The hungry must be fed, not just spoken about with sympathy. The unborn must be saved from the violence of abortion, not just mentioned in our prayers. Whether it’s a candidate for public office or a Christian in the pews, just “believing” in the right to life is not enough. The pertinent question is, “What will you do to protect those who have that right?”