Friday of the Third Week of Lent

March 24, 2017 / By: Fr. Patrick Tobin, OP

True meaning of our Sacrifices

Hos 14:2-10/Mk 12:28-34

Psssst!  Come over here and keep your voice down!  You can tell me.  I promise I won’t tell anyone else!  What did you offer God to get out of a jam the last time?  You know, when you forgot about a paper being due, got the date of an exam wrong, participated in too many clubs and orgs leaving no time for assignments, prayed to the porcelain goddess the next morning after too much fun, gotten lost at night in a not so great part of town, etc….  Offering sacrifices to God didn’t end with the coming of Christ! 

Humanity has a long and not always noble history of trying to bribe God by offering up an important or expensive or extravagant sacrifice in return.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the only kind of sacrifice many of us are familiar with anymore.  We no longer relate to the long history of our older brothers and sisters in the faith, the Jewish people, who were instructed by God to offer sacrifices for a variety of good and holy reasons.  We sacrificed to recognize the importance of God.  We sacrificed to recognize that all of our food is a gift from God.  We sacrificed to ratify an agreement in the sight of God.  We sacrificed to recognize that we had sinned against God.  We sacrificed to recognize God’s intervention into human history on behalf of His chosen people.  And through Jesus the Son of God we now have the sacrifice of the passion, death, and resurrection of the Messiah that we participate in through the sacrifice of the mass.

But then as now, God has also intervened when we have lost sight of the true purpose of our sacrifices.  Without telling us to stop making the good and holy sacrifices that please Him, God has told us that love of neighbor is as important as love of God.  During this Lenten season, we strive to please God by stripping away that which is not necessary and adding that which will foster our relationship with God.  We should continue to do these good things.  And we should continue to participate in offering the sacrifice of the mass whenever possible in addition to the Day of the Lord (Sunday).  But how well are we doing in loving our neighbor?  Are we improving in our treatment of neighbor as we improve in our treatment of God?  Remember, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself.

Fr. Patrick Tobin, OP
Office for Campus Ministry