Grace to you!
James Cameron’s epic movie, Titanic, captured the minds of many in 1997. One of its most moving scenes was the ultimate sacrifice Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack) made to save the life of Kate Winslet (Rose) on the freezing ocean. The scene makes people cry.
You may agree with me that the greatest sacrifice one could ever make is sacrificing one’s life for a cause or a person. Little surprise we praise the military and the police who everyday put their lives on the line for the safety of others.
Have you had someone who was willing to take a bullet for you? Such a sacrifice is the purest, isn’t it?
People can sacrifice money, possessions, time, or connections for a loved one, but the sacrifice of one’s life trumps them all.
It’s in this sense we appreciate the priceless sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for many on Good Friday, when he offered his life for humanity’s redemption, on the hills of Calvary. Thus, 1 Peter 1:18-19 reminds us that we are purchased; that is, our salvation to fullness of life was guaranteed not through perishable things but the precious blood of the Lamb of God, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If, therefore, we must “come follow him,” be disciples of Jesus, do as he did for us, wouldn’t it equally imply our sacrificing for others too? If discipleship of Jesus is walking in his footsteps, wouldn’t sacrificing for others be the expectation of Christian discipleship as well?
Jesus told James and John, two of his closest apostles, that glory comes through the way of sacrifice and service (see Mark 10:42-43).
Look back through history; whenever a believer leads by a life of sacrificial service, the world and the Church are better for it. Servant discipleship is the key to servant leadership, which is a blessing.
The decay in the Church and society during the tenth through the twelfth centuries was the result of the rejection of the spirit of service, sacrifice and true discipleship.
Thank God we had reformers like Pope Saint Gregory VII (Pope from 1073-1085) who restored spiritual sanity to the Church and society. He was ready to shed his blood for it, ready to stand against kings, bishops, priests and politicians who were all for power, wealth and immorality.
True Christian discipleship has a special, inseparable associate. It’s called a life of sacrifice. It is Christ-centered and others-oriented. When the spirit of sacrifice is removed, one removes the true spirit of Christian discipleship.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday, May 25, 2016: Saint Gregory VII:1 Peter 1:18-25; Mark 10:32-45]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.