Commentary on the Gospel of
“The just one's sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten.”
To sacrifice is to love. Today's readings repeatedly request sacrifice. To sacrifice joyfully is to sacrifice with love. “With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy”. It is the attitude we have towards giving that is most important. When gifts are given in hope for rewards, this is the bribe our Lord doesn’t accept. Giving is pleasing to the Lord when done out of love. If we realize everything we have has been given to us by God, our attitude towards giving should be joyful. Joyful that we have something to give!
In today’s Gospel reading, Peter says to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus doesn’t respond to Peter saying they didn’t need to give up everything. I interpret this passage as what needs to be “given up” isn’t necessarily a physical act rather it can be more of a spiritual act. It is about the attitude of attachment that we have towards our family and possessions. If we realize our family and possessions have been given to us by God, it isn’t a bad thing to enjoy what we have been given. What is important is our attitude of attachment towards the blessings we have received.
Jesus affirms Peter that giving up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands not only for Jesus’ sake, but for the sake of the Gospel is a sacrifice that not only is most pleasing, but will be rewarded. To follow Jesus does require sacrificial love which isn’t always easy and can, in some instances, bring about persecution. The best example of sacrificial love is Jesus himself. Have we ever been persecuted for Jesus’ sake and the sake of the Gospel?