Celebrant: Until our Lord Jesus appears again, we will keep God's command to pray with confidence for all our needs.
That the whole Church may respond to the needs of God's children with even greater effectiveness, we pray to the Lord...
That all who preach the Gospel may, like Amos, challenge the complacent and self-centered, and call them to a life of self-sacrifice, we pray to the Lord...
That we may answer the call of the Lazarus of the 21st Century, as he comes to us in the poor, the sick, and the unborn, we pray to the Lord…
That all citizens may take seriously their civic responsibilities and work together to shape public policy, we pray to the Lord...
That the sick may be comforted and healed, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have died may enjoy eternal peace, we pray to the Lord...
as we respond to the cries of the poor,
grant us the joy that comes from serving You.
Keep us faithful to your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
"We need to continue to teach clearly and help other Catholic leaders to teach clearly on our unequivocal commitment to the legal protection of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Our teaching on human life and dignity should be reflected in our parishes and our educational, health care and human service ministries. We need to do more to persuade all people that human life is precious and human dignity must be defended. This requires more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials, especially Catholic public officials. We welcome conversation initiated by political leaders themselves.” -- "Catholics in Political Life," a statement of the United States Catholic Bishops, June 18, 2004
Am 6:1a, 4-7
1 Tm 6:11-16
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The following is a reflection linking today’s Gospel passage to the theme of abortion, and it can be helpful in shaping today’s homily. Some have made a spiritual comparison between the “Lazarus” of this passage and the Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead in John 11. In that latter account, Jesus is deeply disturbed as he approaches the tomb – a disturbance not simply caused by his death, but by the injustice of his death, since it could have been so easily avoided.
We learn many lessons from those who go to heaven. In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we learn a lesson from one who went to hell.
Why was the Rich Man condemned? Was it because he had so much? Was there something inherently sinful about the purple and linen in which he dressed, or the feasts in which he indulged? No. The rich man went to hell because he ignored the other man. He was not condemned for what he did, but for what he did not do. He did not recognize or treat Lazarus as his equal, his brother. Instead, he thought that because Lazarus' possessions were less valuable than his, that Lazarus was less valuable than he.
The story causes us to wonder what we would do if we were there. Yet the fact is that we are there now. The Lazarus of the 21st century is in our midst. He is in our midst in the poor, the troublesome, the annoying, the person who is smaller and weaker than we are, and the person who seems different and less valuable. In particular, the Lazarus of the 21st century is our preborn brother or sister. This is the person rejected by society, the person who begs for help to live but whose cries are rejected some 3300 times a day in our country. This is the person torn apart and thrown away by abortion.
The rich man was condemned for not treating Lazarus as his brother. We also will be condemned if we do not treat the preborn as our brother or sister. Many oppose abortion and would never have one, but they then ask, "Who am I to interfere with a woman's choice to abort?" Today, I will tell you who you are. You are a brother, a sister of that child in the womb! "Who am I to interfere with her choice?" You are a human being who has enough decency to stand up and say "NO!" when you see another human being about to be killed. "Who am I to interfere with her choice?" You are a person who has enough wisdom to realize that injustice to one human being is injustice to every human being, and that your life is only as safe as the life of the preborn child. "Who am I to interfere with her choice?" You are a follower of the One who said, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to Me." Do we not believe that if we allow a person to die of starvation, that we are allowing Christ to die of starvation? Do we not believe that if we leave the sick untended, that we are leaving Christ untended? Must we not then also believe that whenever a child in the womb is ripped apart, burned, crushed, and then thrown away, that Christ is ripped apart, burned, crushed, and thrown away? It is Christ in the womb! When we stand up for life we stand up for Him!