Celebrant: With trust in the One who cares for us much more than the birds in the sky, let us entrust all our needs into his hands.
That those entrusted with responsibilities in the Church and in civil government may prove trustworthy in the roles of service that God has given to them, we pray to the Lord...
That the Lord may increase vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and that those called may be generous, we pray to the Lord...
That mothers who are tempted to abort the child of their womb may be freed from anxiety and strengthened in their special calling to nurture life, we pray to the Lord…
That all those who have anxiety about meeting the basic demands of life may find the consoling grace of the Lord and the generous assistance of his people, we pray to the Lord...
That the poor, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, and the forgotten may experience the power of God's Spirit and the help of his people, we pray to the Lord...
That the sick may be healed according to God's will, and the deceased purified and welcomed into eternal joy, we pray to the Lord....
As we present our needs to you,
We ask you to increase our faith,
Free us from anxiety,
And give us the constant assurance of your presence
And your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Married to God
The first reading and Gospel today reveal that God loves us so much that he describes himself as our spouse. He is not content to “watch us from a distance,” nor to simply “send” his love to us. Rather, he comes radically close to us, fills us with his being, and gives himself entirely to us. We, in turn, are called to give ourselves entirely to him, as to a spouse. The marriage between God and his people, between Christ and his Church, is both permanent and fruitful. This bond of love cannot be broken. Moreover, it always brings about new life in the spirit. It is because the Church is the Bride of Christ that she proclaims the dignity of all human life, and calls us to welcome every life with generosity.
1 Cor 4:1-5
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The pro-life connections to today’s readings are brought out powerfully and poignantly by the declaration in the first reading that for a mother to forsake her own child is almost as unimaginable as God forsaking his own people. Almost – because God knows full well that mothers might and in fact do sometimes forsake their children. Yet he will never forsake us.
Because abortion is a forsaking of one’s own child, God is declaring in this passage that such an action reflects the most dramatic form of infidelity of which human beings are capable. The comparison of the mother-child bond to God’s own care for us also reflects the fact that God, in giving us all life, has also entrusted our lives to the care of one another. This is, in fact, an aspect of being made “in the image and likeness of God.” It is not just a matter of what each of us is in him/herself. It is a matter of our communion with each other, our self-giving service and love and unity, reflecting the inner life of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who give themselves completely to one another and cannot possibly be unfaithful to one another.
The Gospel then gives us one of the causes of human infidelity, including abortion. We worry about how we will be provided for. Is this not at the core of many temptations to abort? How will I provide for the child? How will I afford what this child deserves?
The Lord tells us to stop worrying about such things. This does not mean that we are not to be prudent and plan. It means, however, that when a child already exists – whether in the womb or outside the womb – we are called to trust in God’s care both for us and for that child. Worrying about tomorrow, anguishing about how to provide for someone, can never be a justification for killing that person. “Seek first his kingship over you.” In other words, he alone has dominion over human life. Nobody can choose that another will live or die. Nobody can predict the future, or weigh and balance the value of a person’s life. No person owns another, and no nation can negate the personhood of anyone, born or unborn. Seeking God’s kingship means we both acknowledge his dominion and trust his Providence. That fills us with hope, which gives us the courage to say Yes to life.