The Fruits of Sacrifice
Apr 9, 2019
To live in love is to sail forever, spreading seeds of joy and peace in hearts. St. Therese of the Little Flower
Today the Church in Her mercy gives us Laetare Sunday. We rejoice on this day with great joy! We have come to the halfway point of Lent. We take a break from the disciplines of these holy times. However, we remember the gospels keep us always focused on sacrifice and the fruits of the Cross, which are Christ glorified, His joy, and the Holy Eucharist.
We see throughout the gospels Jesus giving of Himself and His Mercy. In the gospel of Saint John, in the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, this gospel foreshadows the Divine Mercy of Jesus. Jesus, in His Mercy, Who has come to die for us, gives Himself as food for us in the Eucharist. He gives over His Body and Blood for us and in turn gives us eternal life. Countless times throughout the gospels we see He gives part of Himself. He gives over His supernatural power out of Himself in order to feed the people, the five thousand men (not counting woman and children) who witnessed His miracles and followed Him. Jesus gives a small part of Himself for the good of the people. He will ultimately give all for the entire world on the Cross, which will bring joy and life to the whole world.
We might recall the beautiful miracle of the woman with the flow of blood in the gospel of Saint Luke. She sacrificed all her humble living for a cure and could not be healed. She saw Jesus in the crowd, and in faith touched the fringe, the smallest part of His garment, and immediately the flow of blood ceased. Jesus asked who touched Him and all denied it, but He insisted because He “perceived that power had gone out of Him”. Jesus gave of Himself in order to bring joy and healing to the woman.
We see this in the gospel of the young boy with the two fishes and five barley loaves. The boy also sacrifices from his humble offerings of two fish and five barley loaves, which point to the loaves of the Old Testament: the miracle of Elisha and the meager barley loaves in the second book of Kings, which become a superabundance of bread.
A man came bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said. “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD. 2 Kings
The small offering of the young boy in today’s gospel gives him the opportunity to participate in the miraculous multiplication of the loaves. He not only witnesses to the divine power of Jesus, but in providence he is also able to contribute materially to it in the work of salvation. His small sacrifice, which may have been a great amount for him materially, becomes a great source of spiritual joy, which comes from Jesus glorified.
The humble mortification or great sufferings we offer in sacrifice through the act of the will, ultimately will bring life to us. The offering of our sufferings we hand over to our Lord give us divine life. When we offer our small sacrifices to Our Lord: that is, our false self, our anger, pride, despair, selfish desires in love to the Lord, when we truly give them over to Him, they are purified in His Love, His Sacred Heart. He sees our trust in Him. Our sufferings, our offerings, are replaced by the joy of His grace. By the act of the will we use our freedom in a holy sense and replace those things which rob us of grace with the goodness of Jesus. We receive the joy and peace of Christ. Our prayers purify our intention and give us true Christian joy: the supernatural gift rooted in Christ glorified.
God bless you and your families,
Father Aidan, OSB