The idea of sacrifice is not a popular one in contemporary society, even though we often applaud those who endure great sacrifice for the common good. It’s ironic that we recognise the value of sacrifice in the lives of others – especially when we benefit from their self-giving – but seek to avoid sacrifice in our own lives. However, when we realise that the word “sacrifice” literally means “to make holy” it becomes clear that sacrifice is a necessary part of growing into our best (holiest or most whole) selves. As the Psalmist proclaimed, God does not require the blood of animals or people as a sacrifice. The sacrifice that God seeks is that of a broken and contrite heart.
The Bible is filled with stories of those who, in their quest to serve God and others, were willing give of themselves and their resources, but of course, the most significant of these is Jesus. He showed what it looks like to choose love over violence or apathy, and made it clear that not even death has the power to overcome the power of love and self-giving. But, as we see in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, even Jesus’ disciples struggled to understand the necessity of sacrifice. That’s why we need to remember that Jesus chose to live in love even though he knew in advance what the consequences would be. And he called us to follow him in this way of love.
This week we meditate on the life-giving power of sacrificial love.
To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.