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Preaching Pro-Life on the 23rd Sunday of Cycle C

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Published on Sep 3, 2013

Fr. Frank Pavone (http://www.FrFranksBlog.com), National Director of Priests for Life (http://www.PriestsForLife.org), shares thoughts on preaching pro-life on the 23rd Sunday of the year, Cycle C (September 8th, 2013).

More liturgical resources are at http://www.ProLifePreaching.com.

A fuller explanation follows.

Wis 9:13-18b
Phlm 9-10, 12-17
Lk 14:25-33

"Hating...even his own life." This is a strongly-worded condition of discipleship laid out in today's Gospel passage. It takes aim at the arrogance to which the original sin has left us so inclined. It is the idea that was presented to our first parents. "You will be like gods," the serpent said to them in the Garden of Eden. This original temptation was a promise that what was right and what was wrong would be up to us; that we could write our own moral law. That's what the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" meant, and why Adam and Eve couldn't eat from it. We are all called to know good from evil, but not to decide it. To think we decide it is the error of the "pro-choice" mindset. "It's all up to me and my choice, even if it means killing a baby." This way of thinking, of course, leads to total chaos. On what basis do we tell people not to kill each other or steal from each other unless there are standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone no matter what they believe?

The temptation to abort is often couched in reasons and language that seem to invoke the Gospel's advice to count the cost before building a tower or marching with an army. Yet prudence does not give license to kill in order to get ourselves out of undesirable consequences of past actions. Prudence, instead, calls us to evaluate those consequences before we act, and in this sense, the Gospel's lesson is a call to chastity, and not to engage in sexual relations until we are ready to welcome a child in the context of marriage.

Moreover, the Gospel is a call to calculate the cost of that renunciation of our own understanding, which the first reading also reflects. "Unsure are our plans." When a child in the womb seems to throw life's plans out of control, today's message of total trust in the God who knows more than we do is a life-saving message indeed.

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