During this past Lent I had a dinner conversation with my two children about what sacrifice means as a person of faith. We started by sharing some of the gifts that God gives us like being a good athlete or an artist. Then, my 10 year old said, “Some gifts hurt that God gives”. True enough I thought and asked him what he meant which he responded with, “Sacrifice.” Excitedly, I probed, “Can you give an example?” to which he responded with something about sharing gummy bears with his sister. A suitable enough answer for a 10 year old I suppose. But then, I asked, “Can you think of an example of a time you’ve witnessed sacrifice?” Long pause, rolling eyes, light bulb! “Yes! When you gave birth to me and Landes!”
Eureka! He’s got it, the crux of our faith! Sacrifice, which when done with love, brings both death to self and new life. It is in having examples of such sacrifice in our lives, with Jesus’ death on the cross as our ultimate example, that we can become witnesses to that same radical love to those around us. Inherent in the act of sacrifice is the hope that something new, better, and good will emerge.