Celebrant: In Christ, every spiritual blessing is open to us. Grateful for salvation, we now pray for all the needs of God's people.
That the Church may continue to call all people to enter into the holiness which God wants to bestow on all who draw close to him, we pray to the Lord...
That those who have hurt us, and those who consider themselves our enemies, may be drawn into the grace of God and protected from all evil, we pray to the Lord...
That God's grace may enable all people to see that even the smallest children, those yet unborn, are reflections of His glory and called to be temples of His Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord…
That all who serve in the military may be blessed with wisdom and courage, and may inspire many others to greater generosity in service to our country, we pray to the Lord...
That the sick may be healed and the deceased may be received into the arms of God's mercy, we pray to the Lord...
You bestow your blessings
On the just and the unjust alike.
Forgive our sins,
Fulfill our needs,
And keep us in your peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “God is Love” teaches that “agape, which [is]…the typical expression for the biblical notion of love….expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character that prevailed earlier. Love now becomes concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice” (n. 6).
This kind of love is seen in a particular way when we care for the weak and defenseless, both born and unborn. May the Pope’s encyclical encourage us to build a culture of life!
Lv 19:1-2, 17-18
1 Cor 3:16-23
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The Lord Jesus makes universal the commandment of love. The Father’s “sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust.” So Christians are not to draw false boundaries to their love. Christ, after all, now has full authority in heaven and on earth. He has embraced and redeemed the entire universe, and has given us a share in his dominion and in his power to love. “All these are yours, and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s,” Paul tells us in the Second Reading. So loving everybody comes with the territory.
One of the false distinctions, therefore, is between born and unborn. There can be no difference in our love. The size or age or level of dependency of a child cannot exempt us from loving and caring for the life of that child. Nor can it exempt us from recognizing the personhood of that child in the law. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This does not simply mean we love our neighbor in the way or to the extent that we love ourselves. It means we love our neighbor as a person like ourselves. We recognize that whatever differences there may be between ourselves and our neighbors, they still have the same human dignity that we share. We are to see through all the differences, recognize that common dignity, and love them as a person like ourselves.
Ultimately, this command of universal love is not simply an external command. It is not God saying, “Do this because I told you,” as if it were just an item on a list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, it is because we are called to be like God. “You must be perfected as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Perfected in love, in service, in selflessness. “Be holy, for I am holy,” the Lord declares to Moses and the Israelites. His command of love is followed by the declaration, “I am the Lord.” When we hold up the standard of love for born and unborn alike, we are not claiming to be better than anyone else. Rather, we are pointing to the one who made us all, and who wants us all to be just like him.