Gladstone, QLD, February 2021
As a Catholic priest, ‘sacrifice’ is a word that drips with meaning. It’s at the heart of what I believe and what I do every time I celebrate the Mass, the ultimate sacrifice. At its most basic meaning, to sacrifice is to “make holy”. But I think that to “make holy” always requires giving up something of ourselves, letting something go, dying to ourselves. And that’s why when we think of the word ‘sacrifice’ we usually think of suffering or pain. Because ‘sacrifice’ is one of those words that keeps recurring in Christian discourse, it often challenges me.
Compared to many, I have not yet had to suffer any tragic loss or profound crisis in my life; I am lucky – or blessed – compared to millions of others in the world. So how do I share in the sacrifice that I tell my congregation is part of being holy? Perhaps there are numerous little ways that I “make holy” through sacrifice. Perhaps there is a big sacrifice that lies ahead of me at some point. I’m not sure. But I do know without any doubt that sacrifice must be part of my life; it is part of the journey towards salvation.