"Must I give up...?" —Judges 9:9, 11, 13
In Jotham's story, three trees were asked to lead the other trees (Jgs 9:8ff). All three trees declined to serve because they would have had to give up what was most precious about themselves. Jotham's story teaches us that:
- Love, leadership, and service mean sacrifice.
- The Lord calls us to sacrifice not only little things but the most important aspects of our lives — indeed, our very selves.
- A refusal to sacrifice hurts others greatly and will eventually destroy us. "Whoever would save his life will lose it" (Lk 9:24).
Jesus was asked to become the King of kings and rule over us trees and the world. Jesus accepted His Father's will and gave up His life for love of us. His sacrifice on Calvary brought salvation to the world headed for destruction.
Therefore, through Jesus, "let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge His name. Do not neglect good deeds and generosity; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind" (Heb 13:15-16). By offering the Mass as often as possible, unite your life of sacrifice to Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on Calvary. "I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God" (Rm 12:1).
Prayer: Father, may I consider it a privilege to sacrifice my life for love of You and Your people.
Promise: "Thus the last shall be first and the first shall be last." —Mt 20:16 (See yesterday's "promise.")
Praise: Bernard had the gift of healing people by tracing the sign of the cross upon them.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997