Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, February 12, 2012

For several years, submitting a 'Pro-life Corner' post for the weekly bulletin in several churches has been a part of my pro-life efforts. It was only natural to carry this idea into the new pro-life direction of my blog. Priests for Life has been the source for Pro-life Corner posts. Their materials are generously offered  for distribution and they simply ask for credit. These pro-life posts coincide with the Church calendar and 'contain three elements: a one-paragraph bulletin insert, General Intercessions, and suggestions for drawing pro-life themes out of the Sunday reading for the homily'. I will share all three elements every Sunday in an effort help us all think with a pro-life heart.

As is the practice over at Catholic Sistas, a blog to which I contribute, Sunday posts will be scheduled ahead of time in order to leave that day for Church and family.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B

BULLETIN INSERT:

The Pope’s Encyclical "God is Love"
Pope Benedict XVI says the following words in his encyclical letter “God is Love”: “In sacramental communion I become one with the Lord, like all the other communicants. As Saint Paul says, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). Union with Christ is also union with all those to whom he gives himself. I cannot possess Christ just for myself; I can belong to him only in union with all those who have become, or who will become, his own. … Love of God and love of neighbor are now truly united: God incarnate draws us all to himself. … Here the usual contraposition between worship and ethics simply falls apart. “Worship” itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented” (n. 14). These words remind us of our calling to love all our neighbors, born and unborn.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
As you know, the US Bishops have asked us to include in the General intercessions at every Mass a petition for the building of the Culture of Life. Their words in the Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities read, "Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life." (US Bishops, 2001, "A Campaign in Support of Life"). 
~Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
  • That the Church may be an instrument of God’s mercy through her mission and outreach to those most in need, we pray to the Lord...
  • That world and local leaders may seek the poor and forsaken giving them the dignity and assistance they deserve as children of God, we pray to the Lord...
  • That we may imitate our Lord's compassionate care for the sick, and show them that their lives are just as precious and valuable as when they are healthy, we pray to the Lord...
  • That each of us may be vigilant against the sins of envy and jealousy and live in a way that reflects God’s love and care for all we meet, we pray to the Lord...
  • That those who have died may be received into the joy of God’s kingdom, we pray to the Lord...
HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 
 Lv 13:1-2. 44-46
1 Cor 10:31—11:1
Mk 1:40-45

"I do will it. Be made clean.”

Jesus healed the lepers, who were outcasts to their community, as the first reading makes clear. The healing demonstrates two key lessons that relate to the Church’s stand on life.

First, Jesus is always on the side of human life. His healing of some represents his liberation of all from the power of sin and death. Ultimately, the healings described in the Gospels point to the overthrow of the entire kingdom of death, and the final triumph of life. Christ is life, and to stand with him is to stand with life and against whatever destroys it.

Second, the Lord always broke down false barriers between different classes of human beings. He saw their humanity, and the image of God inscribed on them from creation. This image is not obscured by the false distinctions people make by their prejudice or by the customs that deny the equal dignity of all people. The Lord’s determination to eliminate false barriers is seen in many other ways in the Gospels. We see Him reach out to children despite the efforts of the apostles to keep them away (Matthew 19:13-15); to tax collectors and sinners despite the objections of the Scribes (Mark 2:16); to the blind despite the warnings of the crowd (Matthew 20:29-34); to a foreign woman despite the utter surprise of the disciples and of the woman herself (John 4:9, 27); to Gentiles despite the anger of the Jews (Matthew 21:41-46); and to the lepers, despite their isolation from the rest of society (Luke 17:11-19).

When it comes to human dignity, Christ erases distinctions. St. Paul declares, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

We can likewise say, "There is neither born nor unborn." Using this distinction as a basis for the value of life or the protection one deserves is meaningless and offensive to all that Scripture teaches. The unborn are the segment of our society which is most neglected and discriminated against. Christ Himself surely has a special love for them.

Pro-Life Liturgical Resources: Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time, Cycle B, February 5 ~Priests for Life