|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.
Sacrifice With Joy
Sunday, September 11, 2016
There will be great rejoicing in heaven over just one sinner’s repentance. Anna was not quite sixteen and everyone knew of her special musical gifts. Her music teachers were impressed that such a young person had such rare gifts. Her mother knew that while she was gifted and she trained hard, she needed to have the right violin to become a maestro. 1
Her mother searched to find the right instrument and saved up every little bit of money she could. They were an ordinary family and it was hard to save the money. But eventually, she got the new violin for her daughter, the cost of which was greater than the cost of the family car. They presented it to her on her 16th birthday and there were tears of joy for young Anna because she knew the sacrifices her Mum and Dad made for her. Anna, Mum and Dad cried that day as she opened up her birthday gift.
The gift of love and sacrifice is common in families. Most parents sacrifice for their children. Maybe not something as extraordinary as an expensive violin but the time they spend raising their children. The simple action of spending time with them and giving them your presence. Or the little sacrifices that you do for your spouse so they can have what they need at that time.
Equally as important is the attitude with which we do it; not begrudgingly, but with joy. That is the witness we hear in today’s Gospel. We hear about the three losses: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. With each there was great joy and rejoicing when found. There is a sacrifice by each one— sacrifice of the shepherd leaving the other sheep to search for the one lost, sacrifice of the wife giving up her time to search for the coin, sacrifice of the father who gave everything to have the son come home. All was completed with great joy and rejoicing.
We are called to that same witness; we are called to give of ourselves and to give with joy. To make sacrifice for others: our children, parents, friends or even strangers.
For you boys and girls, it could be as simple as letting your younger brother or sister have their way, or let Mum and Dad have their way on occasion. And for Mum and Dad, maybe be witness to this sacrifice of love in some new powerful way, showing our spouse we truly love them by the willingness to sacrifice our needs for theirs. Maybe we can find some new way to sacrifice for our friends or neighbors. Or hardest of all maybe we can find a way to sacrifice for a stranger who will never have the ability to pay us back. No matter who we sacrifice for this week, we are called by the gospel to do so with great rejoicing and joy. Together may we witness to Christ’s sacrifice by our sacrifice with joy in our hearts.
1 Adapted from “Connections” (Mediaworks, Londonderry, NH: September 12, 2010)