"The just man's sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten." —Sirach 35:6
All cultures throughout history have instinctively understood that they needed to make offerings and sacrifices to God. The people of these cultures accordingly offered crops, animals, and even people.
The Lord revealed to the Jewish people that sacrifices entailed more than material things. He revealed the sacrifice of obedience. "To keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering" (Sir 35:1). The Lord also revealed the sacrifice of charity. "In works of charity one offers fine flour, and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise" (Sir 35:2). Next, He revealed the sacrifice of justice, or at least of avoiding injustice (Sir 35:3).
Jesus revealed that sacrifices involved even more. He referred to the sacrifice of persecution (Mk 10:30). He ultimately offered the complete sacrifice of Himself on Calvary (Mk 10:34).
As we try to live a new Pentecost, we too are called to sacrifice time, preferences, money, and possessions (see Acts 2:42ff). As we do this, we often think of how to minimize sacrifices in the future, while God is thinking of maximizing our sacrifices. The Lord wants us to learn how to share in His sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death (Phil 3:10). Sacrifice all the way.
Prayer: Father, I center every detail of my life on the sacrifice of the Mass.
Promise: "Many who are first shall come last, and the last shall come first." —Mk 10:31
Praise: Augustine baptized King Ethelbert on Pentecost exactly 1400 years ago.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996