Celebrant: Mindful of our many needs, we come before God and humbly ask that his peace and reconciliation will fill our world.
That all Church leaders will inspire in us a willingness to forgive those who have sinned against us, we pray to the Lord…
That the leaders of nations will courageously seek reconciliation and peace, we pray to the Lord…
That the memory of terrorist attacks will renew in us the resolve to work for peace in our world, our communities, our families, and our hearts, we pray to the Lord…
That the Gospel's call to forgiveness may bring our society to reject the use of capital punishment, we pray to the Lord...
For all souls marked by suffering, especially the souls in purgatory, may our efforts and prayers bring them consolation, we pray to the Lord…
God, Listen to the prayers of your faithful,
and instill in us the ways of forgiveness
that we may reach out in love to all people,
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
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.
“None of us lives as his own master and none of us dies as his own master.” This assertion, and what follows it in today’s Second Reading, speak of the dominion of God over human life. This, of course, is the basis for the Church’s opposition to abortion and euthanasia, and any other kind of violence against human life. The “pro-choice” side chants, “My body, my life, my choice!” and the pro-euthanasia side chants also, “My death!” But this reading declares that Christ is Lord both of the living and the dead. When the Church defends life, she is not only defending the rights of the human person, but is also defending the rights of God himself, and his absolute dominion over human life.
It is that dominion which also is the basis for the mercy and forgiveness of which today’s First Reading, Psalm, and Gospel speak. God is over all, and therefore can have mercy on all. The first act of mercy is creation itself, and therefore, just as we are called to imitate God’s mercy by forgiving our neighbor, so are we called to imitate his mercy by protecting our neighbor’s life.
Moreover, these powerful readings about mercy are a good opening to remind the congregation about the forgiveness the Lord and the Church offer to those who have had abortions, and about our responsibility to welcome such individuals with tenderness and kindness, and never with harshness or judgment.