In this Sunday’s gospel (Mark 10,35-45) James and John, two of his disciples, want something from Jesus; they want the power and position they believe he can give them. “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
But they want glory without any cost. Grant it and it’s ours, they say to him. They’re looking for an easy way to get something good. Jesus says they want glory “without drinking the cup,” a life without struggle, effort and suffering. But there’s no life without sacrifice.
You can’t live without sacrifice. You can’t have it all and you can’t have it easily. That applies to every level of life.
We have to sacrifice for our own good. For example, we can’t be healthy without adopting a healthy life style, something often hard to do.
We make sacrifices for others, and that’s often hard to do. Parents sacrifice for children; children for parents. Sacrifice for strangers–that’s very hard. Soldiers have to be ready to give up their lives for their country. The ultimate sacrifice, we say.
Jesus described his own death on the Cross as a sacrifice. That sacrifice was the culmination of a life given for others.
Sacrifice has a holy dimension we may forget. We remember that dimension at Mass, where we use the word frequently. Sacrifice comes from two latin words that mean “doing something holy.” If what we do is good, for ourselves, for others, for our world, we are brought to God through it, and God blesses our efforts, our struggles and the suffering what we have done entails.
“We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ your Son,
Through him we ask you to accept and bless these gifts we offer you in sacrifice”
What are the gifts we offer to God in sacrifice? Yes, they’re the gifts of his Son, who offered himself to his Father once on the Cross and now becomes our offering to God who blesses us through him.
But they’re our gifts too, our sacrifices, many and varied as they are, that are joined to his and they bring down God’s blessings on us and on our world.
Let’s keep our sacrifices holy.