Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

A warm welcome back to Msgr Seamus Brennan, after his short trip to Ireland, which became longer than expected. 🙂

We are witnessing two events of great importance this week. First is the 49th March for Life that took place on Friday, January 21 in Washington D.C. The theme for this year’s March for Life is “Equality Begins in the Womb.” It is to remind us all, as a nation, that we need to restore equal rights to our most defenseless citizens in the womb.

The right to life is a human right. Our defense of that right is a joyful witness to the beauty and dignity of every human person. The March for Life is an inspiring, peaceful, vibrant, and joy-filled rally of women, men, young people, and children from all across the country. Every year, tens of thousands of prolifers converge on the National Mall and march on Capitol Hill on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which legalized abortion in all 50 states. It’s the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world. But this is not just a protest…but a gathering to celebrate life. Catholic teaching is clear: we envision a world where every life is celebrated, valued, and protected- born or unborn, young or old, baby or elderly, healthy or sick, rich or poor.

The second event is the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” which began last Tuesday and concludes this Tuesday. The theme this year, is what you have read in last Sunday’s bulletin: “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him” (Matthew 2:2), as chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches in Beirut, Lebanon. The Magi are a symbol of the world’s diversity – different religions and cultures – that comes to pay homage to the Christchild. Pope Francis said that in a similar way, Christians of diverse backgrounds and traditions “are pilgrims on our way to full unity,” who come closer to our goal when keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus.

We know that Jesus prayed for unity: “Father, may they all be one.” (John 17:21). But this unity is not realized as an organizational unity. Instead, it is possible to have a unity based on loving service, the fundamental mark of Christianity. Such a unity is possible if we accept what St. Paul asked us to do: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3). This is a call for churches to work together so that young people can build a good future according to God’s heart, a future in which all human beings can experience life, peace, justice, and love. Here’s a short prayer we all can pray:

“Lord God, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to
gather all peoples into the one communion of love and life
through your Holy Spirit. Help us to be one in the spirit of love
as we serve others, especially the poorest, the weakest and
those marginalized. Unite us in the common mission that
Jesus has given us. Amen.”

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal