Love is Sacrifice

Sunday, February 7th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

Recently I spoke with a couple about their marriage.  What struck me about the conversation was the husband’s account of his life.  He recounted how he found stress at work and came home where there was more stress.  He was looking for someplace of calm and tranquility in his life.  I reminded him that marriage is hard work and stresses couples to their limit. Radio Show Host Dennis Prayer has often said that marriage forces individuals to grow up and to mature.  Marriage is a Sacrament of Service where husbands serve their wives and wives serve their husbands and couples serve their family.  Married couples put the needs of others over and above their own wants and needs.

The readings on the Fifth Sunday of Advent remind us that Christ came to serve. Jesus’ entire life was focused on serving others. He came to fulfill His Father’s mission — the salvation of mankind. He labored for this mission by becoming the humblest of servants. 

In today’s Gospel, Simon says to Jesus, “Everyone is looking for you.” Jesus did not seek after their praise and adulations. Rather, He responded by saying, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.” Jesus was already looking for the next opportunity to serve. 

Christians – by virtue of our baptism – are called to be humble servants who labor for our Heavenly Father’s mission.  Christians strive to be “Christ-like” by imitating the servant leadership of Jesus Christ, who was constantly aware of the needs of those around Him and put His gifts and talents to good use. For each of us, this begins right in our homes, in Saint Joachim parish and in our local community. We are called to live each moment in awareness of our Father’s mission and in gratitude for all He has given us. 

Jesus tells us that the way to be attentive is through prayer. Before Jesus made the decision to go to the nearby villages to preach, He first went off to pray. It is through prayer that Jesus could hear what His Father was asking of Him. We, too, are called to spend time in daily prayer — where we will then become aware of the opportunities available to us to serve the Lord. 

Let us commit to finding some quiet time this week to pray. Let us ask the Lord — how can I serve You better throughout my days? And let us pray, “Make me your humble servant, Lord Jesus.”