Sacrifice

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

If, then, following Jesus is the more demanding command, why order the rich man sell and give? Because this was the concrete incarnate way this particular man was to follow Jesus; it was his particular cross. Paul says of the meaning of the Cross: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich”(II Cor. 8:9) Isn’t that what he asked of this man? Isn’t that what he asks of us, each in our own way? And since comparative material wellbeing is the lot of most of us, will not our cross of sacrificial love involve, in part, sacrificial giving to the poor as well?

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Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Towards the end of Luke 9 we are told that Jesus’ “set his face toward Jerusalem.” It is, according to Green, a phrase that evokes an austere determination to go to the very place where he would suffer rejection and ultimately [death]…But he did not go to Jerusalem to die; he went to fulfill with the whole of his life the divine purpose, which was to bring life, healing and redemption to the whole of creation (see Hebrews 12:2).

We are all called to set our face towards to Jerusalem—to seek to fulfill the divine purpose through the whole of our lives…But we do not do so for the sake of death; we do so for the sake of Life, and Abundant Life, at that.

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The Image of True Leadership – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

The Image of True Leadership – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

That image is captured in one word: Shepherd. Not a title of authority…but the humble role of one whose task is to serve the needs of those he oversees: to guard, protect, feed, and care for his flock…The shepherd is a servant of those whom he leads for their well -being. He lives with the sheep and is almost one with them. As Pope Francis has said, good shepherds always have “The odor of the sheep”.

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Life-giving Love – Gospel in Preparation for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Life-giving Love – Gospel in Preparation for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What is the connection between faith/belief (defined in Dei Verbum as the means by which “man freely commits one’s entire self to God”) and the means by which God communicates his entire self to us? And what does it tell us about the life that we are to live in response to that gift?

Anything short of life-giving Love fails as an answer.

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Life for Life – First Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Life for Life – First Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

The requirements of the covenant still hold: it is still life for life. God does not simply want our mindless adherence to a set of rules and regulations; he wants all of us, in our obedience, yes, but most of all in the surrender of our wills and hearts—however weak, wounded and marred by sin—in trust of His goodness and steadfast love. And as we unite ourselves to His all-sufficient sacrifice, our own paltry offerings are miraculously made sufficient and we have the hope of receiving the life of the One who is Life.

In the words of St. Paul, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Cor 9:15)

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The God Who Emptied Himself – Second Reading in Preparation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

The God Who Emptied Himself – Second Reading in Preparation for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

We, who are not God, grasp equality with God. He who was God did not grasp but emptied himself to become God’s servant and ours.And how has our grasping worked out for us? Literally miserably, filling our lives and the world with “enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension…and envy” (Galatians 5:21). Seeking to rise we have fallen, and fallen hard. But Jesus, who emptied himself, was raised up. He who sought not his own, but sought to serve God and man, lost nothing but was raised to higher glory. So shall it be with us. Ours is the way to death, his is the way to life. This is the meaning behind the seemingly enigmatic teaching of Jesus himself:

“He who is greatest among you will be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”(Matthew 23:11-12)

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No Greater Love – Second Reading in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent

No Greater Love – Second Reading in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent

The passage begins, “Jesus, having loved his own…he loved them to the end.”(John 13, emphasis mine) Then it describes his taking a basin and towel and washing his disciples’ feet. Only a few moments later he took bread and broke it saying “This is my body given for you”.

The bread and wine, the Cross all plead , “There is nothing so great I would not sacrifice for you.” The basin and towel plead, “There is nothing so small or menial that it is beneath my care for you.”

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To See God – First Reading in Preparation for the Second Sunday of Lent

To See God – First Reading in Preparation for the Second Sunday of Lent

But perhaps the most stunning moment of all comes at the very end when the author tells us, “So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord will provide; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” …Notice the repetition of the same verbs from before; it is not coincidental. To the contrary, it reveals one of the most fundamental truths of our faith: not only that God sees us—our lives, our plights—but also that, when we trust in that seeing (and its inextricable tie with His provision), and then live according to that trust we actually come to see God. Our trust, our obedience are the very means by which we are able to experience God’s faithfulness.

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Sacrifice and Love – First Reading in Preparation for the First Sunday of Lent

Sacrifice and Love – First Reading in Preparation for the First Sunday of Lent

So often we approach Lent thinking about what we are going to give up, what hardship we are going to take on. This, of itself, is not bad, but if we stop there we’ve missed the point. Lent is not season of sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice; it is a participation in a mystery: the mystery of our Lord’s testing in the dessert by which he showed himself to be the true Messiah, the true servant of the Lord through his prayer, fasting and faithful response to temptation.

It is only by imitating him and participating in this mystery that we become more available to the very life and love that he came to give us.

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The Holiest Family – Gospel Reading in Preparation for the Feast of the Holy Family

The Holiest Family – Gospel Reading in Preparation for the Feast of the Holy Family

The holiest family, the family that is our exemplar, was a poor family and made its home among the poor. What must have been the richest family in love, warmth, self-giving, devotion and joy, had very little of this world’s possessions. In looking to them we are challenged to ask ourselves, whether are rich or poor, have we in our day sought our family’s happiness and well-being in the wrong place? It is not that prosperity is bad; but only holiness, only complete devotion to God and His will, can lead us to the fullness of life for which we were made and enable us to love each other in the fullness of love, which flows from the God who is Love.

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