|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Become What We Receive
Through today’s scripture, we are called to offer spiritual sacrifices. A sacrifice occurs when we do something for somebody else, when we give up something. To sacrifice is to give up what you would like for somebody else. For example, if we are reading a book or enjoying ourselves when our mother asks us to clean up, we have to sacrifice reading the book and do the work. If we are playing a game at school and some other kid is not playing yet but wants to play, we could sacrifice our place and let them play. These are not huge sacrifices, but they are important because little sacrifices for other people make us think of others. That is how we follow Christ. Christ made constant sacrifices and eventually laid down his whole life for his friends. He wanted us to know what it means to be a child of God.
Scripture also tells us that we are called to build ourselves into a spiritual house and that we are living stones. Jesus is called “The Living Stone,” and we are called to be living stones that form a spiritual house, which means that we give up ourselves spiritually to sacrifice and form a community, form a building. We come and allow ourselves to be built into a house or church; this requires that we give up something.
For example, all of us here today could have been in a multitude of other places. But we have not chosen that. We chose to sacrifice our time and place and to allow ourselves to be built into a spiritual house.
It is hard to give up what we want so that somebody else can have it. Now when you come forward this morning, and say, “Amen,” when you receive the Body of Christ, you become what you receive, the Body of Christ. But you promise to become that Body of Christ broken for others, that Blood of Christ poured out for others. You promise to sacrifice. That is what you are promising this morning; to give up your own selfish things that you tend to want so that others can have. That is a tough challenge. I hope you are ready for it.
This is what we celebrate every Sunday. It is by no means a meager and small task. It is a monumental task. It is a task that we follow Christ until the day we die. He promises us that we will have our own room with him, that he has many dwelling places, and that he has made room for us. He promises that if we follow him, the way, the truth and the life, then we will have eternal life. We choose once again to become what we receive, so that we become that living stone and witness to the whole world that God is our Father through Christ.