Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pro-life Corner: SUNDAY, April 1, 2012


BULLETIN INSERT:

The People of Life, Born from the Cross

“When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished'; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (Jn 19:30). Afterwards, the Roman soldier "pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water" (Jn 19:34). Everything has now reached its complete fulfillment. The "giving up" of the spirit describes Jesus' death, a death like that of every other human being, but it also seems to allude to the "gift of the Spirit", by which Jesus ransoms us from death and opens before us a new life. It is the very life of God which is now shared with man. It is the life which through the Sacraments of the Church - symbolized by the blood and water flowing from Christ's side - is continually given to God's children, making them the people of the New Covenant. From the Cross, the source of life, the "people of life" is born and increases” (The Gospel of Life, n.51).

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

Celebrant: God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to bring unity to the human race through his suffering and death. Let us offer our prayers for the whole world.

Deacon/Lector:

That all Christians may embrace the joy of this Holy Week with a commitment to repent of past sins and strive for holiness, we pray to the Lord…

That Church leaders may proclaim with courage and conviction the gospel of Christ crucified, we pray to the Lord…

That world leaders may reflect the sovereignty of Christ as they work to eliminate unnecessary suffering from their countries, we pray to the Lord…

That the crucifixion of Christ for all people may teach us that there is no such thing as a worthless life, or a person God does not love, we pray to the Lord... 

That those preparing to enter the Church this Easter may be protected from evil and grow in holiness, we pray to the Lord…\

That those who have died may find everlasting joy in the Father’s kingdom, we pray to the Lord…

Celebrant: Father, you allowed your Son to suffer for the salvation of the world. 
As you answer our prayers, give us grace to follow the example of Jesus, 
for he is Lord forever and ever. Amen.

HOMILY SUGGESTIONS: 

Mk 11:1-10 or Jn 12:12-16
Is 50:4-7
Phil 2:6-11
Mk 14:1—15:47 or 15:1-39

As the quote above indicates, the Church as the People of Life is born from the Cross. Jesus’ passion and death are his self-giving, and the power of that self-giving is given to us, that we might give ourselves to one another in serving, protecting, and celebrating the gift of life.

The preaching on Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter can be the opportunity to ground the pro-life convictions of the congregation right in the heart of our Faith. In other words, being “pro-life” and defending life are not things “added on” to our faith, or optional, “extra-curricular” activities. On the contrary, the whole culmination of the liturgical year leads us to the days when Jesus, by dying, destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life. That is why the liturgy, especially in these days, is the most appropriate place to speak about life as a gift of inestimable value.

In particular, Jesus endured the rigors of the passion – described in today’s liturgy in great detail – precisely because of how much he values human life. He did it for us. He did it because he wanted to raise human life to the heights of heaven. Through his Passion and resurrection, he does not only conquer his own death; he overturns the very kingdom of death. We cannot listen to or believe the Gospel of the Passion without marveling at how much God loves each human life, and without feeling impelled to respond when that same human life is trampled underfoot. He gave his life for us; we are to give our lives for one another.

Christ died once for all, but Calvary continues today as innocent people are killed in abortion clinics nationwide. As John Paul II wrote, “It is precisely in the "flesh" of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ” (The Gospel of Life, n. 104). The Gospel of the Passion continues in our day…

Palm Sunday - Cycle B ~Priests for Life


Every Sunday, I post these pro-life materials, generously offered for distribution by Priests for Life. These 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'. This is my Sunday effort to 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.
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PS. Learn about Lady Ribbon’s Entry Into Our Lives… a ribbon that truly speaks to Catholic women with regard to breast cancer with a focus on pro-life awareness.