For Sunday, September 8, 2013
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Philemon 9-10, 12-17
This is one of those weeks when it seems like the world is holding its breath. Last weekend, after much discussion and debate, President Obama announced that he would give Congress a voice in whether or not to launch a military strike against Syria, following that country’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
Hours later, in a dramatic plea from his balcony, Pope Francis had an announcement of his own, calling on people around the world to join him in prayer and fasting on Saturday:
“He said prayer services will be conducted in St. Peter’s Square beginning at 7 PM Rome time and will last to midnight.
“‘I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church Sept. 7th, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world,’ he said, according to Vatican Radio. ‘And I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.’
“‘We will gather together in prayer, in a spirit of penitence, to ask from God this great gift [of peace] for the beloved Syrian nation and for all the situations of conflict and violence in the world.’
“‘Never again war,’ Francis said. ‘We want a peaceful world. We want to be men and women of peace.’”
During this time of uncertainty and anxiety, the words from this Sunday’s Gospel leap out at us:
“What king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.”
Jesus has much to say in this Gospel passage from St. Luke, part of his final discourse on the way to his own passion and death. But this week, above it all we hear his voice added to so many others, including the pope’s, in a message invoking peace. At this moment, no matter what our political persuasion, that has to be our most urgent intention, our deepest yearning, our most fervent hope.
This week, while the world holds its breath, let us hold in our hearts a prayer for peace.
Deacon Greg Kandra
A Prayer for Peace in Syria
God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
Bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
Strengthen Syria’s neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
And protect those committed to peace.
God of Hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
And give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
This prayer is from Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a collaborative effort of USCCB and Catholic Relief Services.
Liturgical Publications Inc hosts monthly webinars on stewardship communications, as well as regional seminars throughout the country. You can view a full list of scheduled webinars and seminars on the lower right corner of our home page at www.4LPi.com/schedule.
CATECHETICAL SUNDAY—September 15, 2013
The USCCB offers resources for parishes and families to celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 15. The theme for this year is “Open the Door of Faith.” For more information, visit: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/index.cfm.
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