At Mass this weekend, we are offering the special prayers which come from the Mass for Various Occasions: "For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life" as directed by Cardinal Seán. On our parish website there will be the text of his special homily for this Mass for you to read if you did not hear or see it on all the various social platforms and media outlets. Although this effort is being expended at the time of the March for Life in Washington, we need to remember that the theme of the opening prayer of this Mass reminds us "that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful in this trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life."
Our prayers must always be bigger and better than our human vision. All of us must constantly pray and remember that every human life is precious in the eyes of the Lord at every stage and in every way of life. The implications of this truth are very difficult to live out in our lives. By the limitations of human nature, we often interpret this truth according to our religious or personal biases. We fail to understand that every human life is precious. It is most obvious that our prayer should be first for ourselves and then for others in this. As we change our hearts and minds, so we set the example in humility for others to do the same.
May the Lord who has begun this good work in us bring it to completion.
This beautiful icon which our Knights of Columbus Council sponsored this past week in our Parish is certainly a reminder to us that in our world today there are many people persecuted for their faith, Catholics, Christians and other religious traditions. We need to be mindful of the direct and indirect ways that we may contribute to this persecution, especially when we endorse governmental policies that keep religious refugees from seeking and obtaining asylum in our country or governmental policies that support oppressive regimes in other countries. We may be free to practice our faith, but it does not mean that we are free from helping others to be safe to practice their faith. We need to pray for freedom for everyone and for ourselves to support others as they seek to live their life in faith in various ways. We thank our Knights' Council of the Sacred Heart for their special efforts to bring this icon of Mary and her Son to us. We need to always remember that the Holy Family itself had to flee persecution from Herod as refugees and seek safety in Egypt. We need to welcome others as if they are the Holy Family.
At Sunday Mass, we start this weekend the reading of Matthew's Gospel as our principal text for this coming church year. Matthew tries very hard to connect Jesus to the Old Testament. This week's Gospel tells us that Jesus was carrying out His mission to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy. Matthew sees Jesus as "the New Moses" and all through his gospel this image is sustained. In fact, the gospel is actually written by Matthew in five great sections to parallel the five great Books of the Torah. We learn that Jesus makes "all things new" in Matthew. Let us use this theme as our aspirational hope as we beginning the year long journey following Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew.