Commentary for Sunday’s readings

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We have all been to various types of Masses during our lives. At one’s parish, Masses throughout the year are celebrated with greater or lesser solemnity depending upon the feast day. There are also different occasions in people’s lives that we celebrate at Mass: a wedding Mass, Confirmation Mass, or Ordination Mass, among others.

No matter the occasion, almost everything important in our lives takes place within Holy Mass. This is because at its heart, the Mass is a sacrifice—the Sacrifice of Jesus’ Body and Blood—and everything important in Catholic life is about sacrifice. Sacrifice is what marriage is about; sacrifice is what the priesthood is about; sacrifice is what accepting the gifts of the Holy Spirit are about.

We accept the gifts God gives us only in order to share those gifts with others. We never accept God’s gifts merely to pursue our own interests. All this is to be able to say, in the words of our First Reading, “I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.”

Gratitude is the root of all true love. Until we recognize how much in our lives is “given”, how much in our lives is a gift, how much in our lives is sheer grace, we are (because of original sin and actual sins) ungrateful for what we have in life, and so we lack the charity that should mark our lives. One of the deepest ‘moves’ in our spiritual life—and certainly one necessary for spiritual growth—is gratitude for the sacrifices we are called to make. God loves a cheerful giver, and a cheerful giver loves God. Further, one who does not give (and cheerfully, at that) does not love God.

As Christians, we’re called to recognize that God the Father not only gave us His own Son, but also that He gave his Son to us as one of us. Christ is that great gift Who is the perfect image of the Father, and the perfect image of what it means to be human. Because Jesus is “one of us”, He teaches us by His example on the Cross, as well as by the grace flowing from His Cross. When we approach the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with humility, we can better understand and believe how Jesus in His humanity gave thanks for offering His life for us at the Last Supper and Calvary, and so sacramentally at Holy Mass.

Diocese of Wichita

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