The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

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9th Week in Ordinary Time

Date: 
Sat, 06/06/2015
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

The word “sacrifice” has all but disappeared from the vocabulary of our culture.
An exception is reference to the sacrifice made by those who serve in the armed forces.
But even here this “sacrifice” is connected to the preservation of and continuation of
an individualistic, materialistic, and hedonistic approach to life.
Attitudes of giving and generosity are lost amid the practice of
selfish possession and the exploitation of others.
 
An exaggerated and distorted sense of personal freedom
lies at the root of such un-Christian tendencies.
This understanding of freedom is blind to objective and universal truth.
It acquiesces to instinctual forces and to an individual’s will to power.
Thoughts of God are, if not the very existence of God is, nowhere to be found.
 
As compared with this approach to life,
according to our Catholic tradition and practice
the significance of life consists and is to be found in
a free and responsible giving of oneself to God and to others.
In and through his dying on the cross
Jesus offered himself to God.
His death is the greatest of sacrifices.
It is a free, personal act of self-giving for the sake of the redemption of the world.
The Christian life is based on following the example of Christ.
Hence, a life without sacrifice cannot be Christian.
 
In today’s gospel Jesus instructs his disciples:
do not be like the scribes;  be like the poor widow.
The scribes are ostentatious, greedy and hypocritical.
They are vain and pretentious in their public appearance and display.
And they exploit the weak and vulnerable while putting on a show of piety.
 
The widow is dedicated, faithful and generous.
She makes a great sacrifice, and does so ungrudgingly.
No, it is not seen or recognized by anyone but God.
But it is priceless, beyond measure, extraordinary, unparalleled.
 
We can get caught up in drawing the line between surplus and need.
To do so is to be distracted from what is central in this instruction.
All of us have “more” to sacrifice.  We are all withholding something from God.
It would be exceptional to find someone among us who has given all to God,
freely and with thanksgiving.
 
“Help us, O Lord, to trust in you enough to give all that we have for your glory. Amen!”