The Gospel reading for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time focused on Jesus’ first miracle. One homily shortly thereafter linked it to the first and fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to life.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted connected the two during the 11 a.m. liturgy at St. Francis Xavier Parish, 4715 N. Central Avenue. He traditionally holds the Respect Life liturgy at the Jesuit-run parish the Sunday closest to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
He opened Mass by praying “for an end to the terrible scourge that has come to our country 40 years ago.”
The bishop also challenged Massgoers — both the regular Sunday crowd plus Knights of Columbus members and pro-life leaders — to think about key parts of Jesus’ miracle at the wedding in Cana and relate them to the pro-life movement. For example, in thinking about the time-frame that it happened in Jesus’ life, the bishop reminded the crowd that Jesus didn’t seem to want to perform the miracle at first.
“We human beings feel like we’re running out of energy,” the bishop said, referring to the pro-life movement. “Some of us feel weary, even discouraged by the lack of progress.”
What’s needed, he said, is a miracle of love, like the one Jesus showed in Cana, on the cross and still shows in every Eucharistic sacrifice.
At the end of Mass, Mike Phelan, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Respect Life, shared some encouraging news. He said that a national publication had listed Arizona as the country’s 29th most pro-life state.
“In 2012, we were No. 5,” Phelan said. “That’s due to a lot of great leadership: my brother Knights, parish leaders, our bishops and their brother priests in getting clarity about respect life out in the diocese.”
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Drawing from the Gospel about the wedding in Cana, the bishop also talked about the state and sanctity of marriage nationwide.
The wedding in Cana was in a place of little importance, the bishop said. Today, the sacred union of a man and woman is of no important to certain elected officials, he said.
“Marriage is the last place that many of our contemporaries would allow Jesus to work a miracle,” he said.
The bishop’s homily returned often to Mary’s words during the wedding feast in Cana: Do whatever He tells you.
“This is how the culture of death is overcome: by listening to Jesus,” the bishop said, later calling him the divine bridegroom of the church, “and by believing in God’s plan for marriage and family.”