A Sacrifice of Praise


May 15  

In case we’ve lost the fullness of Easter glory, the Church reminds us today what is at the core of life with Jesus . . . Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. When Jesus spoke these words at the last supper, he had just washed the feet of the disciples—even Judas’ feet, although he knew Judas was about to betray him. That’s how we’re supposed to love.

No matter the age of our children, I think we all have a way to go before we can love them like the Lord loves us. And how do we know how Jesus loved? We watch his works—and especially his paschal sacrifice. The responsorial psalm gives us a blueprint for loving: The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness . . . good to all and compassionate toward all his works. This should be my way of being with my family. Oh, my. Nope. Not there yet.

How can I reach that point? How can I love like the Lord? This time, it’s the Gospel reading that helps. Jesus says, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself.

Remembering that the Son of Man is glorified chiefly through his passion, death, and resurrection, we can keep in mind that loving like Jesus will require a sacrificial offering of ourselves. As Jesus united himself with his Father, we also can unite ourselves to God. With sacrificial praise, we can join our work with the work of the Lord. We are so blessed to know that our work as mothers glorifies God. Our domestic churches shelter our families and also give glory to God.

Although we aren’t called to preach the Gospel or to be nailed to a cross, it is not hard to discover sacrifices in our daily work. Getting up with a young baby can hurt when we are tired and groggy. I remember lying in bed with a baby crying and saying, “Please, just sleep a few more minutes.” Then it occurred to me that I would actually enjoy my time with the little one if I prayed for the grace to get up and thank God for the time alone with my baby.

I’m sure all our lists are unique to us, but any job we find unpleasant can be turned to a sacrifice of praisedishes, laundry, changing diapers, resolving squabbles, training our children to do chores, going through clothes bins at the start of every season, chauffeuring the kids. Some of us are doing this when we’re hungry and tired after putting in a full day at work. By uniting our work with the Lord, asking his Spirit to strengthen us and fill us with his joy, we can begin to be gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness . . . good to all and compassionate toward all his works.

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