Tag Archives: Sacrifice

32nd Sunday of the Year: Giving generously. Catholic Inspiration

Two widows offer examples of giving generously in the Scriptures today.  Three words – gratitude, sacrifice and expectation – can offer insight into how we can be generous as we follow the example of Jesus.

Mass Readings – 32nd Sunday of the Year

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Monday Conversation: Remembering Memorial Day. Catholic Inspiration

We remember the sacrifice and service of the men and women who have served our country.  May this observance help us to count the blessings we have received and live the gift of freedom with conviction and dedication.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Good Friday: The Lord’s Suffering and Sacrifice. Catholic Inspiration

Today we pray with the Church around the world as we recall the sign of God’s love through the death of Jesus on the Cross.  May the Lord’s suffering and sacrifice open our hearts with gratitude as we reflect on what Christ has done for our eternal salvation.

Good Friday Scripture Readings

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2nd Sunday of Lent: Sacrifice

Study:  Recall a sacrifice you have made recently.  What was it about this sacrifice that revealed your values and priorities?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to serve with your whole heart.  Pay attention to anything that is holding you back.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is struggling with priorities right now?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 2nd Sunday of Lent

What do you think is worth a personal sacrifice?  What would you be willing to give up for someone or something you believe in?

We learn a lot about ourselves by what we are willing to sacrifice.  Our values, personal convictions, and priorities all come into focus with the simple phrase:

Can I give that up?

We make sacrifices all the time.  Some are simple, others complex; some are demanding while others are the act of a moment.  Yet sacrifices reveal the depth of our hearts and our willingness to offer up our lives for something greater, something that we hold precious or valuable.

The thought that Abraham would be willing to offer up his only son – the child of God’s blessing to Sarah in her old age – strikes the modern hearer as barbaric and horrible.  It is a crime against nature: that the innocent could suffer such atrocity sounds more like something from Hell, not Heaven.

Yet Jesus Christ, innocent and without sin, will die a brutal death on the Cross…for us.  The atrocity that confronts us at Calvary reveals the value God places on our human souls – we are loved completely, entirely, and without thinking of the cost the Lord sacrifices his life to take our place for the evil we have done.

This is the power of the transfiguration in the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus, revealed in all his glory with Moses and Elijah, is God’s “beloved Son.”  Coming down from the mountain Peter, James, and John have no idea what lies ahead – they can only marvel at the awesome sight of Jesus as he stands in Heaven…the one who is honored for the sacrifice he makes.

Perhaps then, the real question for us pertains to those things to which we still cling.  What priorities and values do we place higher than Christ?  What is holding us back from embracing the Lord with all our heart?  I suggest considering the following thoughts:

  1. How does my use of TIME reveal my priorities?
  2. How does my use of MONEY reveal my values?
  3. How do I show the PEOPLE in my life that I love them?
  4. How do I live my faith in GOD each and every day?

And if there are things that are keeping me from God & others….

Can I give that up?

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was first published on February 24, 2015.


Monday Conversation: What will you do for Lent? Catholic Inspiration

Cross

The season of Lent offers a powerful opportunity for conversion, spiritual growth, and developing our relationships with the Lord and one another.  However, I also know that this season has a way of sneaking up on us.  Life moves fast, and we can get caught up in any number of tasks – missing the necessary preparation and perspective to get the most out of these 40 Days.

As a guide, I suggest starting with the “Fruits of the Spirit” that St. Paul writes about in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).  They are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

First, do we see these in our lives?  Are there people, situations, interactions, locations (home, work, school, community) where we see consistent evidence of their presence?  If so, then how can we help them flourish and grow?  How can we create more opportunities to allow the Spirit to work in our lives?

Second, are these absent in our lives?  Or worse, are their opposites present?  Is hatred, despair, turmoil, and the like alive in our hearts?  If so, how can we make the necessary changes to allow the Spirit into our lives?

Now here’s how this gets practical.  It is often customary during Lent to “do” something or “give up” something for these 40 days.  How about this…

  1. “Do” something that fosters the Fruits of the Spirit in my life.
  2. “Give up” something that is in conflict with the Fruits of the Spirit.

Where do we look?  Try this for starters…

  1. WHAT we do – the Activity
  2. WHO we do it with – the People
  3. WHERE we do it – the Location

“Doing” can include any number of things:

  • Helping a neighbor, family member or friend – in a spirit of kindness and gentleness
  • Drawing near to people who are spiritually good – who make us more loving and peaceful
  • Spending time on activities that help us use God’s talents in a good and holy way
  • Concentrating our efforts on opportunities where we know that God is present
  • Being in locations and situations that foster a strong and healthy life

“Giving up” can look like this:

  • Is there anything destructive, harmful, unholy, or evil that needs to be removed?
  • Are there people who are leading us to harm or destruction?
  • Are there locations, situations, or circumstances that are unholy for us?

Using the “Fruits of the Spirit” as a measurement, we can quickly reveal the pattern of our lives.  If it is spiritually fruitful, then we can strengthen this.  If it is spiritually destructive, then perhaps this season of Lent gives us an opportunity to give it up and start directing our lives in better ways.

Furthermore, Lent has classic opportunities for Study, Prayer, and Service:

Study: Scripture, the Catechism, a Devotional, Spiritual Reading

Prayer: Mass, Confession, Rosary, Scripture, Devotions, Stations of the Cross

Service: at home, the neighborhood, the community, the Church

God keeps inviting, keeps forgiving, and keeps extending grace and mercy to all who seek it.  Now is the time to get ready for a powerful Lent – where we turn to Jesus and allow His grace to transform our hearts.  Give serious thought to what you can do to make this season special, and open your to heart to Jesus Christ.

What will you do?  What will you give up?  Make it a great Lent!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was originally published on February 26, 2014.


Daily Mass: The martyrdom of St. Stephen. Catholic Inspiration

With the joy of Christ’s birth ringing in the air we celebrate today the death of St. Stephen, the first martyr.  Why?  To help us see the connection between the Christ’s birth and saving death as we offer our lives for the Lord.  Thus, the Christmas spirit gives us hope to face the sacrifices of this life with the conviction that the Jesus Christ will guide and lead us to Heaven.

Mass Readings – Feast of Stephen, first martyr

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Daily Mass: Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus. Catholic Inspiration

The Lord explains how Elijah returned in the person of John the Baptist, and then Jesus goes on to say how he will suffer just like John.  As we draw near to the Feast of Christmas, we remember how God so loved the world he gave His only Son…to teach us how to offer our lives for one another.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 2nd Week of Advent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

Photo Credit: Son of God, 2014.