Meal and Sacrifice
Each Sunday we are offered the meal that sustains our faith. Our participation at Mass through prayer, Scripture and song, our reception of the Eucharist and our being sent forth are all elements of the Eucharistic celebration. We remember God’s activity in our lives, we ask for forgiveness, and we resolve to act—to live the Gospel message in every aspect of our lives throughout the week.
Accustomed as we are to think of all the healing and miracles we read about in Scripture, the communal aspects of a meal shared, the satisfaction that comes from nourishment, we also know that the Eucharist is about sacrifice. We remember that Jesus emptied himself, even unto death, out of love for us.
In the Responsorial Psalm this weekend, we ask ourselves, “how shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me? …. to you will I offer sacrifice…” What is the sacrifice that love demands or asks of us? We often see and hear what sacrifices parents make for their children. We can see what sacrifices wives and husbands make for each other because of love. Where do you experience sacrifice in your life?
Sacrificial love is self-sacrifice with the pure motivation to alleviate the suffering of others. Sacrificial love says I love you even when you are not very lovable. Who are the suffering among us?
These are some of the images of suffering that come to my mind: images of children taken away from their parents at the border; images of families who have lost children to gun violence in schools or who are affected by that violence because they were there to experience it; images of persons who, because of skin color, gender, sexual orientation or anything that makes them “different” or “the other,” are to be feared, held suspect and become the object of others’ hate; images of women and children who become the objects of sexual desire; images of persons who work multiple jobs and still cannot find affordable housing; images of those living with diseases of addiction, mental illness.
Pope Francis offered this reflection on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi:
Let us ask ourselves, in adoring Christ who is really present in the Eucharist: do I let the Lord who gives himself to me, guide me to going out ever more from behind my little enclosure, in order to give, to share, to love him and others?
What is my response of love and sacrifice to those who are suffering? How does my understanding of Eucharist send me forth to act?