Preaching Suggestions for Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion
January of 2015: Healing in and Through the Church
The month of January is marked by more attention to the abortion issue than usual, because of the January 22 anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion throughout pregnancy. In conjunction with this anniversary, many marches, rallies, and educational events are held around the country, and many Churches have special services to observe "Sanctity of Life Sunday."
With this in mind, our preaching in this month can be particularly fruitful, as it can address the questions and the pain
that arise as the topic of abortion gets more attention.
That pain is not only in the congregation; it also exists in the minds and hearts of the clergy and pastoral ministers of the Church. We to whom God has entrusted the ministry of reconciliation must ourselves be reconciled; we who are vessels of his healing must be healed as well.
There may have been involvement in abortion in our past; on the other hand, we may feel the need to repent of not having spoken more or done more to save the unborn. In either case, the launch of this healing project is a good opportunity to take a major step forward in our journey. If we have been silent, now is the time to speak. It is not too late, and we might even tell our people that we are resolving to address this topic more adequately in this coming year.
Below you will find links to how the readings for each Sunday of January, as found in the Catholic lectionary and also the Common Lectionary, can lead the preacher into a consideration of the topic of abortion.
In relation to the project of Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion
, we suggest that in any such homily, the following points are made:
- The Church is the place where God meets his people with salvation. As he extends his saving love to us, he brings us truth, mercy, and healing. The Church, which rejects abortion, does not reject those who have abortions. Rather, we embrace them with mercy and love, and with the urgent invitation to take hold of repentance and forgiveness. The doors of the Church are open.
- As we conclude the Christmas season, and as many celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1, we renew our awareness of the tenderness of God, who became an unborn child and a newborn baby, precisely so that we would not be afraid of approaching him. On the contrary, God wants us to run to him, to welcome his life (reflected in every human life) and to receive his mercy.
- As we start a New Year, we ask him to make all things new in our lives and in the world. This New Year is part of the time he gives us to repent. Let us make use of it, embracing in joyful confidence the gifts of repentance and forgiveness.
It is also noteworthy that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is observed from January 18-25. Seeking and accepting healing, and strengthening the Church to be a vessel of that healing, is certainly a theme around which all Christians can unite, and for which all Christians should pray.
In particular, among the preaching hints to be found in the links below, we make special note of the fact that the readings for Sunday, January 25 are especially marked by the theme of repentance. To apply that theme to participation – active or passive – in abortion is therefore highly appropriate.
The same can be said on the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, January 11. Jesus is not baptized because he has any sins, but rather precisely because he expresses solidarity with sinners, and the reality that he comes to lift us out of sin and its effects. It is a motive for greater confidence than ever in his healing mercy.
Thursday, January 1, 2015 -- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Sunday, January 4, 2015 -- Solemnity of the Epiphany
Sunday, January 11, 2015 -- Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord
Sunday, January 18, 2015 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, January 25, 2015 -- Third Sunday in Ordinary Time