The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.
In today’s first reading, Paul encourages us to “regard others as more important than yourselves” and to look out for the interest of others. In this reading is a beautiful hymn in which Paul illustrates Jesus humbling himself and taking on human form. It was to be the greatest giving of self to save all mankind. Jesus regarded himself less important in the interest of our salvation.
The Gospel also challenges us to make choices; choices that involve taking the hard, narrow path or the easy, wider highway. While our choices in life are often confusing and fraught with angst, our lives will reflect the path taken.
This Sunday is Respect Life Sunday and the beginning of October’s Respect Life Month in the Catholic Church. The prayer for life, which renews itself each Respect Life Sunday, continues throughout the year.
On Jan. 22, we pray for all aborted children on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and we celebrate all pregnancies on the Feast of the Annunciation. (Usually the Annunciation feast is on March 25, but it is transferred to April 9 in 2018 because of the dates of Holy Week and Easter.)
When we look at the life choices we face, we know that supporting life in all of its forms is the narrow path to be taken. We cannot be against abortion and still defend the death penalty. We cannot be pro-life and stand idly by when racist, even facist remarks are heard and not defend everyone’s right to equality.
Do we turn a blind eye to euthanasia for the ill, infirm or elderly? If that is how we feel when we enter the church every Sunday and look at the crucifix, the symbol of life-giving salvation, then we need to correct our choices.
Our lives in the body of Christ assembled in church are an acknowledgment of Jesus’ sacrifice. By acknowledging that act of self-sacrifice, we are supporting life in all of its forms.
What would our Sunday worship look like if it was devoid of children, the elderly, the ill and people of different races and ethnicities? The pews would soon be empty and parishes would die of starvation in spirit and grace.
We are called to make choices in support of life, from conception to natural death. Perhaps your church is praying for special intercessions during October or holding a special prayer service for all of life. Some parishes place white crosses in lawns in front of church during October as a reminder of lives lost in the current culture of death.
We must stand up, look out for the interest of others, support all of life and not be afraid to take that narrow path, and along the way make our voices be heard loud and clear.
Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.