Celebrant: We are gathered as the Body of Christ, and await the coming of his kingdom. We trust in the goodness of our all-knowing and loving God to answer our prayers today.
That the Church may be a faithful steward of the gift of grace entrusted to her in order to gather all people into the kingdom of God, we pray to the Lord.
That the spiritual leaders of the Church may reflect the love and compassion of Christ and draw their people ever closer to Him, we pray to the Lord.
That as our nation observes Thanksgiving, we may renew our sense of dependence upon God for our freedom, our security, and for all we need, we pray to the Lord.
That Jesus' one sacrifice for sins may console those who suffer because of a past abortion, we pray to the Lord.
That those who suffer from diseases of the mind or body may trust in God's continuing love for them and experience God's healing presence, we pray to the Lord.
That those who have died in the peace of Christ be gathered into the heavenly kingdom, we pray to the Lord.
Celebrant: Loving and gracious God, surround us with your love and care. We offer these prayers for ourselves and for the world in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Church opposes abortion, but embraces with mercy those who have made this mistake. Let’s all take encouragement from these words of Pope John Paul II: “I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and to his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.” (The Gospel of Life, #99).
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Dn 12:1-3Heb 10:11-14, 18Mk 13:24-32
We have arrived at a time of the Church year when the readings speak of the Second Coming of Christ. This is a theme, of course, that is echoed in every Mass: “We proclaim your death…until you come again; …As we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ; …As we look forward to his second coming, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice…"
In some gospel passages, the teaching about the effects of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection is interspersed with teaching about his second coming. These are two critical moments of salvation history: in the one, the power of sin and death are overthrown at their roots; in the other, the victory is brought to its culmination and full manifestation. Both of these moments are described with apocalyptic language and imagery from Old Testament passages such as today’s first reading from Daniel. What is being conveyed here is the destruction of one kingdom and the inauguration of another. This, of course, is what Christ came to do. His kingdom is among us, thanks to his death and resurrection, made present again to us in every Mass. That kingdom, as the liturgy tells us, is “A kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace” (Preface of Christ the King).
We live now in the “in between” time, when the kingdom of Christ has been inaugurated on earth, but not yet brought to its full manifestation. The power of sin and death – revealed in evils such as abortion – has been destroyed at its roots. Yet we still struggle, in and through Christ, to bring about a Culture of Life. We must bear witness to the truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love, and peace that characterize the kingdom. The apocalyptic language of the readings should inspire in us both the awareness of how awesome a struggle this is, and the confidence in the final victory – a victory marked by the triumph of life. “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” (First reading). Life has the last word. “Now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool” (Second reading) – and the last enemy to be destroyed will be death itself.
Mercy also has the last word, as the second reading likewise conveys – mercy that reaches even to those who have taken life by abortion and similar sins.