14 July, Tuesday — Cheapened Sacrifice // Prodigious Gift

Jul 14 – Memorial for St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest

St. Camillus (1550-1614) used to be a gambling addict. He lost so much he had to take a job working construction on a building belonging to the Capuchins; they converted him. Because of a persistent injury, he moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator.

Lacking education, he began to study with children when he was 32 years old. St. Camillus founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick (the Camellians) who care for the sick both in hospital and home. He honoured the sick as living images of Christ, and hoped that the service he gave them did penance for his wayward youth.

  • Patron Saint Index

Isa 1:10-17
Mt 10:34-11:1

I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves… When you come to present yourselves before me, who asked you to trample over my courts?  

God is love. This, we know. But an angry God – well, not many of us want to spend time pondering this image. In today’s scripture reading of Isaiah and gospel of Matthew, we hear and visualise the wrath of God, and Jesus’ instruction to the Twelve disciples about setting their priorities and earthly relations and obligations right in anticipation for the courts of Heaven.

‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword…
‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. 

These are very hard truths for us as we contemplate the banquet of distractions and temptations offered to us daily. Whether it be through the media, the questionable content we consume, and the profusion of material comforts and acquisitions we can obtain at the click of the physical or virtual ‘Shopping Cart’.

Meanwhile, Sundays are sanctified and holy as a ritual of habit. I ponder this without judgement on anyone – but a genuine reflection and realisation of what my genuflection, Act of Contrition, and kneeling at the Eucharistic celebration truly mean when I approach God’s altar.

How have I lived the week past? Where have I omitted to practice mercy and charity to my neighbour? In other words, how has my daily conduct prepared me spiritually, to present my Sunday’s offerings to the Holy of Holies? I can honestly say that I fall far short on most days, try as I might to be kind, speak love, and forgive generously.

But with Christ there is always hope and redemption. This is where God’s sacrifice is the most prodigious gift we could not even begin to imagine. Before I could prove myself worthy, He had already given me Jesus Christ.

I may have stumbled and sinned, while bringing ostentatious sacrificial offerings of fat, blood, and gold. I may have thought He wanted grand incense and gilded chalices. Yet, the sweetest sacrifice to His eyes would be these acts:

‘Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.
Cease to do evil.
Learn to do good,
search for justice,
help the oppressed,
be just to the orphan,
plead for the widow.’

Being a follower of Christ does require great heroic virtue. Indeed, a greater part of the battle is won in trying.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to keep my life simple. Help me to keep my heart and soul spotless. Help me to bravely search for justice and help the oppressed.  

Thanksgiving: I give thanks for the wideness of Your mercy in spite of my petty weaknesses.

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