Celebrant: With trust in the Lord who calls us as his disciples, we bring him all our needs.
That the Church may continue to proclaim with joy the saving mercy of the Lord and follow him with steadfast fidelity, we pray to the Lord...
For peace in the world, and for the justice which is the foundation of that peace, we pray to the Lord...
That all who teach the faith may proclaim that the reign of God is a kingdom in which human life, at every stage, is welcomed and revered as a supreme gift of God, we pray to the Lord…
For all who have made a commitment to religious life, that "having set their hand to the plow," they may never look back, but only follow the Lord with joy, we pray to the Lord...
That the terminally ill may receive the proper care, love, and support they deserve until the moment of natural death, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have died may be purified of sin and share in the Lord's resurrection, we pray to the Lord...
by our baptism
we are committed to following your Son.
Hear our prayers,
and help us keep our hearts focused on You.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The United States Catholic Bishops wrote to us as follows in their document on Faithful Citizenship (2015) about the preeminent moral issues we fact in society today. They explain, “In our nation, ‘abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others’ (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed” (n.22)
1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21
Gal 5:1, 13-18
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The second reading’s teaching on freedom creates the opportunity to preach today on the relationship between freedom and the right to life.
Unwilling to describe the details of dismemberment that the abortion procedure entails, supporters of its legality have taken refuge in much more positive words like “freedom” and “choice.” Ironically, of course, abortions do not happen because of “freedom of choice,” but rather because some pregnant women think they have no freedom and no choice but to have an abortion. Hence the pro-life movement works daily to provide alternatives to abortion.
But to invoke “freedom” to justify abortion twists the very notion of freedom, in a way that today’s second reading warns against. The corrective truth that Paul gives is that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. The unborn children are our neighbors, and loving them starts with protecting them from violence.
The command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” doesn’t simply mean to love them “to the same extent” as we love ourselves, but more fundamentally to love them “as a person like ourselves.” In other words, it means that we recognize in them a person with the same worth, value, dignity, and rights as we ourselves have. This is precisely where the “pro-choice” mentality has gone wrong, when it fails to see the unborn child as our neighbor. The justifications for abortion would not hold if invoked as a reason to kill a born child. “Love your neighbor as a person like yourself.”
Our Declaration of Independence invokes the “right to life” as an “unalienable right” granted to all “by their Creator,” not their government. What God gives, government cannot take away. This is the foundation of our freedom – that God himself grants our human rights, and that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted.” This is the basis of the freedom we enjoy in America. Preserving that freedom requires preserving the fundamental rights that are its foundation, starting with life itself.