18 October, Sunday — Sacrifice for God

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isa 45:1,4-6
1 Ths 1:1-5
Mt 22:15-21

“…give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.”

When I was younger, I remember that whenever there was a celebration, my mom or grandmother would set aside food and put it on the altar. They explained to me that it was an offering to God. We were forbidden to eat the food. In fact, before we could even eat, we had to make sure that the offerings were made on the altar. Until recently, I thought they were just being superstitious, or they were doing things without understanding what needed to be done.

As part of my spiritual reading, I was told to read ‘The Faith Explained’ by Leo Trese. And I came across the definition of a sacrifice. There are three criteria to what defines a sacrifice, but I would only focus on one here — that for a ‘true sacrifice, the gift is removed from human use and in some way destroyed’. He actually said that the money we contribute to the church is not really a sacrifice because it will be used for the church’s needs.

The Gospel made me remember this. Have I really given something to God only for God? Have I ‘wasted’ something for God, just like the woman who broke a jar of expensive perfume just to wash Jesus’ feet? With all humility, I don’t think I have the disposition of ‘wasting’ something for God. And it was really humbling for me to find out that when my mom and grandmother offered something on the altar, they were probably right.

I shared this with my friend, and she told me of a story about a member of the Opus Dei who was abducted. One day, while he was held captive, he was asked if there was any food or drink he would wish for. He asked for wine. Before he drank it, he felt he was asked by God to offer up the wine to him. It was not easy, but he ended up pouring the wine for God. And after that, he found peace.

It had me thinking about what I could give to God. And then I realized that if I give up my time for God in prayer – especially during the times when I don’t feel like I’m gaining something – then that time can be called a gift solely for God.

Still, I think every now and then — what would be the wine or the perfume I would ‘waste’ on God?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us learn how to be detached from the material things and allow us to make a true gift for you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for giving us something we could give you.

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