Mass Reading & Meditation for January 22, 2013
Meditation: Mark 2:23-28
2nd Week in Ordinary Time
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. (Mark 2:27)
On this anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the doors to legalized abortion, the Church asks us to pray for legal protection of the unborn. If you’ve ever seen a fence around a pasture, you can understand the need to pray for a change in our laws. We all know that a pasture fence helps keep the animals together and provides protection from outside dangers. Could the sheep stay together without a fence? It’s possible, but not likely. Sheep aren’t very good at regulating themselves, after all.
Laws function in a similar way. They set limits for human behavior. While God created us to gravitate toward the good, sin has altered our attractions, and we now have trouble making the right choices. Where our natural impulses may take us down the wrong path, a good law can correct our trajectory. It holds us to a higher standard and helps us to live peacefully with each other.
For the Israelites, the Sabbath law served as a structure that helped them remember all that God had done for them, that they belonged to him, and that he deserved their worship. Was their purpose in life to fulfill the Sabbath law? No. The law was made to help them live as God’s people. It was meant to bring them to a point where worship and respect for God would naturally flow from them. That’s why Jesus didn’t stop his disciples from picking grain. The Sabbath was less about work and more about people’s hearts.
So on this day of grim remembrance, let us take up the call to pray for just laws that protect the innocent. Such laws certainly would help stop the slaughter of unborn children. But even more important, laws protecting them could create some breathing room, an environment of safety until people’s hearts could come to a deeper and more lasting change. But let’s also pray for a transformation of minds and hearts, so that the protection of the unborn becomes a no-brainer. May we all work for both results: just laws and softened hearts!
“Heavenly Father, how it must sadden you to see innocent lives ended and women violated through abortion! By your grace, let justice and mercy become the guiding forces that shape our laws. Lord, let no helpless child perish!”
Hebrews 6:10-20; Psalm 111:1-2, 4-5, 9-10