Celebrant: We know that God is near to all who call upon him. We turn now to our generous God with our prayers and needs.
That the pope, bishops, priests and deacons will be signs of God’s living presence among us as they preach the Gospel, we pray to the Lord…
For government officials on the national, state, and local levels, that they may govern with humility and ensure the rights of all, we pray to the Lord…
That we may look upon the poor, the vulnerable, the stranger, and the unborn with the unconditional love and welcome portrayed by the Gospel, we pray to the Lord...
That those entrusted with the catechetical ministry in our Church may be strengthened in their zeal to share the truth of Christ’s teaching to all seeking the living God, we pray to the Lord…
That our parish community will imitate the generosity called for in today’s Gospel and be faithful and generous stewards, we pray to the Lord…
That those who have died and those who grieve them may find comfort in Christ, we pray to the Lord...
listen to the prayers of your people,
and make us generous stewards of the abundant gifts you have given us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Life and Choice
“’Choice’ is a positive concept, and an attractive concept. That’s why abortion apologists use it. But the way they use it is a lie and, increasingly, Americans are catching on. There is hope in this development….. Increasingly, Americans are recognizing what a moral evil is embodied in Roe. Increasingly, they are aware of the vast network of lies that have been spun and fortified to sustain the illusion that abortion is somehow a good, or at least a morally neutral procedure; that it is a standard part of health care and family planning; that it is a proper exercise of a woman’s freedom; that it is a solution to intractable social problems. It is, of course, none of these things. What it is, is an unfettered right to take an innocent, human life from the mother’s womb. All this, more and more Americans are coming to know.” ---Cardinal William H. Keeler, Former Archbishop of Baltimore January 23, 2005, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Phil 1:20c-24, 27a
Watch a video with homily hints
The contrast God indicates between his way of thinking and ours (First reading) is exemplified in the Gospel passage, where the landowner’s (the Lord’s) generosity to those who started late astonishes those who worked all day. Those who come late to the Kingdom of God (the Gentiles, and those yet in our midst who are far off) can still enjoy its full benefits.
The emphasis on “thinking right” that these readings convey goes to the heart of repentance. “Metanoia” is a change of “mind”, of “thinking.” Elsewhere, Paul writes that “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
This is at the core of the battle between the Culture of death and the Culture of Life. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae 8 writes, “At the root of every act of violence against one's neighbor there is a concession to the "thinking" of the evil one, the one who "was a murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44). As the Apostle John reminds us: "For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother" (1 Jn 3:11-12).”
Either life has priority over choice, or choice can be used to destroy life. But both ways of thinking cannot co-exist, and when one thinks according to the Culture of death, a true “metanoia” is needed, in which one heeds what the Lord says in today’s first reading, and recognizes the need to begin thinking God’s way about the relationship between life and choice.
The readings also put a strong emphasis on mercy and forgiveness, themes that always accompany our teaching about abortion, and impel us to invite to reconciliation those who have been far from the Church because of past involvement with abortion. Not only do we invite them to reconciliation, but we invite the rest of our people to think in God’s way about those who have had abortions, that is, not with thoughts of condemnation or punishment, but with eagerness to welcome and console.