The Respect Life Program, sponsored by the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops, started in 1972 and begins anew each October—the month set aside by the U.S. bishops as "Respect Life Month."
The program promotes respect for human life in light of our intrinsic dignity as having been created in God's image and
likeness and called to an eternal destiny with him.
materials are designed each year to assist those in various roles
within the Church to help Catholics understand, value, and become engaged
with supporting the dignity of every person, especially by cherishing
God's gift of life.
Download or order materials at www.usccb.org/respectlife!
"We are called to show
mercy because mercy has first been shown to us." Pope Francis
Life Sunday, October 2, 2016
Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Acclamation: 1 Peter 1:25
Our Troubled World
today's First Reading, we hear a voice crying out to God with questions many of
us can relate to: "How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! …Why
do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?" We see and experience suffering
in our own lives and in the world.
Example A: In 2015, 48% of those who died
under Oregon's assisted suicide law cited being a "burden" on family, friends,
or caregivers as a reason for their suicide.1
Example B: "We often assume parenthood
happens easily after 'I do,' but for many married couples, it does not. For
some, the joy of conception never happens. Others suffer repeated miscarriages"
or secondary infertility.2
Example C: [Give examples from relevant
also causes suffering. God creates us in his image and likeness and calls us to
union with him now and for eternity. When we sin against others, we are
treating them contrary to their God-given dignity and are also acting against
our own nature.
Reason for Hope
have all sinned against each other. But God expresses his love for each of us
through his limitless mercy, revealed in Jesus' death on the Cross.
mercy does not mean indifferently overlooking our sins, leaving us in our
sinful ways and the misery they bear. Rather, he offers mercy that we must
actively choose to receive by repenting and resolving to amend our lives.
unworthy, we are shown forgiveness and love by God himself. This love moves our
hearts with gratitude and joy.
Agents of Mercy
God's mercy helps us draw closer to him and become more like him.
asks us to be his hands and feet in a world filled with pain and suffering,
tragedy and injustice.
will face challenges, but the Lord equips those whom he calls. The Second
Reading reminds us that "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather
of power and love … So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord… but
bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from
God" (2 Timothy 1:6-8).
Lord has also given us a roadmap—the Spiritual and Corporal Works of
Mercy—noting, "whatever you [do] for one of these least brothers of mine, you [do]
for me" (Matthew 25:40). During his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis reiterated
this, saying, "your care for one another is care for Jesus himself." 3
(The Works of Mercy and other quick reference
information is provided in the section of the resource guide entitled "Simple
Example A: Tens of millions of lives in
this nation have been directly touched by abortion. If a friend shares a
previous abortion experience, express your sympathy for their loss.
seem to need help, assure them of God's unconditional love, and encourage them
to seek healing and peace. Explain that the Church's Project Rachel Ministry
for post-abortion healing can help, and refer them to
Example B: In a society that emphasizes
productivity, pleasure, and independence, it is all the more important to
accompany those nearing the end of life. We need to remind them they are not
alone, they are loved, and the value of their lives is not dependent upon
Example C: "Our distorted relationship with
God has infected our relationship with the earth, evidenced by pollution, lack
of clean water, toxic waste, and immense material waste. … What the Holy Father
often calls 'a culture of waste' or 'a throwaway culture' even goes so far as
to see and treat human life as disposable."4
need to cultivate within ourselves "an attitude of the heart, one which
approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully
present to someone without thinking of what comes next."5 With this attitude, as we
draw closer to God and to each other, we will become more attuned to God's
. USCCB Secretariat
for Pro-Life Activities, Fact Sheet, "Assisted Suicide Laws in Oregon and
Washington: What Safeguards?" www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/assisted-suicide/to-live-each-day/upload/Oregon-and-Washing-euthanasia-2013.pdf
accessed April 15, 2016.2.
USCCB Secretariat of
Pro-Life Activities, Seven Considerations
While Navigating Infertility
, (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops, 2016).3.
Pope Francis, Greeting to the Organizers, Volunteers and
Benefactors of the World Meeting of Families
, (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015). 4.
of Pro-Life Activities, Serene
Attentiveness to God's Creation
, (Washington, D.C.: United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2016).5.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si'
(Vatican City: Libreria
Editrice Vaticana, 2015), no. 226.6.
Pope Francis, Misericordiae vultus
Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015), no. 9.
from Misericordiae vultus © 2015, Greeting
© 2015, and Laudato Si' © 2015,
Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Scriptural
excerpts from NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission. Copyright © 2016, United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. www.usccb.org/respectlife