The Nature of Sacrifice
Today’s gospel exalts the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. The dictionary defines sacrifice as, “an act of offering to a deity something precious.” (Websters) For us Christians, the definition falls short of our lived experience. We have come to know and love Jesus Christ whose sacrifice was given for us. The sacrifice of the cross becomes something precious and loved. As a result of His loving gift, we have learned to imitate Him in making sacrifices for others. Today, I reflect upon sacrifice from three perspectives: First, I invite you to see that the Gospel today is an exhortation of the beauty of sacrifice; second, consider that work itself can be considered a form of sacrifice; and finally, see the Eucharist as a sacrificial gift for us.
First, in today’s gospel, Peter confused the sacrifice which the Lord would endure with human suffering. Peter assumed that all pain is a curse. In our hedonistic world, this mistake often takes place. The Christian can see deeper than the curse of pain when viewed with the salvific nature of the cross. To see a blessing in sacrifice, one must think like God, not like men. That is why Peter was chastised in today’s gospel. He was told, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mt. 16:23) Peter was challenged to see the blessing of sacrifice in the cross rather than the curse of pain.
Second, our country celebrates Labor Day this weekend. We will take some time away from our normal labors to contemplate and enjoy life. In the Christian tradition, work is not seen as a curse only. While, yes, in Genesis 3 the scriptures associate the “tilling of the soil” with the curse of original sin, we can see our labor as a blessing as well. Through our work we produce something for God’s greater glory. As a beautiful corollary, we build up our identity and security in this world through that which is produced by our work. Labor Day then, should be seen as more than a time to rest from the curse of toil. It is a time to praise the Lord for giving us the blessing of producing goods for Him.
Finally, please see the Eucharist as a sacrifice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, “The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work are united with those of Christ with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.” (#1368, emphasis original)
Planned giving is a powerful opportunity to ensure your most sacred values and commitments are part of your legacy. Your planned gift represents your hope for the future mission through Saints Peter and Paul Parish Fund, your faith in generations to come and your love of Christ and His Church.
Please contact The Catholic Foundation at 303.468.9885 for more information on how they can help you leave a legacy.
The Parish Library is open after all Masses. Come check out what it has to offer!
Consider a Floral Altar Arrangement. They are $40 for a bouquet and the flowers are featured on the altar for a full week. Envelopes can be found in the vestibule or come by the parish office.
Also, make sure to write a Yelp or Google review for Sts. Peter and Paul. Help the church spread the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ and reach out to the Wheat Ridge Community!
ANSWERING THE CALL OF JESUS, TO BE FULLY ALIVE IN THE FAITH AND TO IMITATE HIS LIFE
We will be heading to The Grizzly Rose this Sunday for some dancing. We will be leaving the church around 6:30 and getting back around 9:30ish. I will need a permission slip filled out before you can be part of our little group. You may get them from my office door in the vestibule. Our regular HS youth group will be back next week.
Shawn Schadler 720-347-0895