Celebrant: Like Peter, may we recognize Jesus and trust that he will hear the prayers we offer in faith.
For the Church, that her leaders and members be mindful of serving the world in humility and faith, we pray to the Lord...
For world leaders, may they place the needs and rights of the oppressed before those who are revered in society, we pray to the Lord...
That the Church, against which the gates of death cannot prevail, will work with confidence to eradicate the injustices of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, we pray to the Lord...
For our young people, may they be blessed with a safe and peaceful transition back to school, we pray to the Lord...
For those who have gone before us, may they find joy and honor as they enter into eternal peace with the righteous, we pray to the Lord...
God of infinite love and wisdom,
we humbly ask you to hear these prayers.
Continue to keep us faithful to the humility of Christ
so that we may one day rejoice in the resurrection of the righteous.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
View a video with homily hints
If some mistook Jesus for John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah, as today’s Gospel passage indicates, then his preaching must have borne a resemblance to theirs. John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah were tough characters. They did not hesitate to confront power with the truth and the demands of the moral law. They did not hesitate to point out that violation of the covenant brings ruin to the people. They did not shy away from moral absolutes, and from the absolute requirements of fidelity to God.
The Church presents the same teaching to the world, assured, as we also see in the Gospel, of its union with Christ in its mission not only of teaching but of transformation. Challenging every culture with which it communicates, the Church takes the initiative and storms “the gates of hell.” Gates, after all, do not run out on the battlefield to attack the enemy. Rather, gates stand still and defend the city against the enemy attacking it. To say that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church is to say that it is the Church who is taking the offensive, and is storming the gates of hell to win ground for Jesus Christ.
All of this provides a context for understanding the fight against abortion and all the manifestations of the Culture of Death. The readings of today should help people understand not only why the Church’s pro-life teachings are faithful to Christ, consistent and unchangeable, but also why she does not shy away from asserting that her mission is to transform the culture of the death into the culture of life, and is not deterred from pursuing that mission.