Celebrant: Having been reconciled to God through the Blood of Christ, we are able now to pray with confidence.
That our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and all the bishops, will proclaim the Gospel with fidelity, joy, and effectiveness, we pray to the Lord...
That earthly governments may heed the voice of the Lord and His commandments, seeing in them the only way to peace with justice, we pray to the Lord...
That the Lord of the harvest may send forth many laborers, including priests, deacons, religious, and committed lay persons, to gather many believers to His Church, we pray to the Lord...
That the gift of life, which we have received, we may give as a gift by working to save those in danger of abortion, euthanasia, or other forms of violence, we pray to the Lord…
For sinners who do not trust in God's mercy, that they may be inspired by the knowledge that their Savior died for them, we pray to the Lord...
That the sick may be healed, the dying comforted, and the deceased welcomed to eternal life, we pray to the Lord...
Father, You have proved Your love for us In the death of Christ Your Son. Grant us also Your grace and favor In response to the prayers we have offered through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Father Looks Back
Longtime country music singer Kenny Rogers has a song called “Water and Bridges,” which highlights a father's pain after losing a child to abortion. Rogers told CNN that the song is not about him, but is "really about choices you make when you're young that you pay for when you're old." He goes on to explain, "It starts off with a young couple who have an abortion, and the guy says, 'If a father could hold his son, I could undo what's been done, but I guess everyone is living with water and bridges.'" Counseling and healing is available for any man or woman who has lost a child to abortion. See www.RachelsVineyard.org for details.
Mt 9:36 - 10:8
Watch a video with homily hints at https://youtu.be/0TmJsBvrEww.
Jesus as Shepherd, and the need for “laborers for the harvest,” are familiar themes. What is helpful to emphasize about those themes today, in particular, is that the sheep are “troubled and abandoned.” God is saying that what the laborers have to do is to gather the people in (like the harvest) because, as the Lord said in today’s first reading, they are to be “my special possession.” As the psalm says, “He made us; his we are.”
This is the basis for Jesus giving the authority to cure disease and expel demons. Diseases and demons are ravaging people who belong to God. They are, in a sense, stealing God’s possession away from him.
And that’s exactly what abortion does, some 4000 times a day in the United States alone. At the heart of the debate is not primarily the question, “When does life begin?”. Rather, it is the question, “To whom do we belong?” Dr. James McMahon was an abortionist in Southern California and performed partial-birth abortions. When asked by the American Medical Association news how he justified doing it, he admitted that the baby was a child, but then said there was a more important question, “Who owns the child? It’s got to be the mother,” he explained.
Intervening for the child, advocating that the child belongs to God, is an aspect of gathering in the flock who are abandoned; inspiring hope and strength in the mother and father to say “Yes” to life is an aspect of helping the flock who are troubled. (In this, fathers have a particular role.) It is also a fulfillment of the command in today’s Gospel to “raise the dead.” We may wrestle with this one. In what sense do we fulfill this command of Jesus? Was it only for the apostles? Does it only refer to those dead “in spirit,” whom we can rouse to life-giving repentance? Or perhaps does it also mean that those who are tottering at the brink of death, that is, children in the womb scheduled to be aborted, can be brought back from death by those who speak up for them and who reach out to their parents with alternatives and assistance?