Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
To keep the law is a great oblation,
and he who observes the
commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
In today's gospel, Peter declares, "We have given up everything and followed you." Given the confrontational character of so many conversations in the gospels, we might expect Jesus to rebuke his disciple. Many replies come to mind: "You have not yet suffered to the point of shedding blood." (Hebrews); "Let us now begin for we have nothing so far." (Saint Francis of Assisi).
But Jesus affirms the disciple and his sacrifices:
...there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
The word oblation appears in the first line of this morning reading from Sirach; it often sounds during the Eucharist. Bing first defines it as "a thing offered to God or a god." The second definition recalls our Christian heritage: "the presentation of bread and wine to God in the Eucharist."
An oblation is a gift received and returned, received again and returned again. Jesus received life from the Father and gave his life back to the Father. The Father has given us Jesus and we have offered Jesus again to the Father. The Father gave us to Jesus his Immortal Son and Jesus graciously gives us back to the Father. The Father blesses us in Jesus and we bless the Father with, "Hallowed be thy name."
An oblation is a continual giving and receiving. It is an acknowledgement that everything we own is gift, and we have received everything from the Lord.
An oblation is a gift owned by the giver and receiver; it is their bond, their covenant and their communion. Even as the gift is held in their four hands they gaze into each other's eyes.
Saint Peter describes the gift we give to God, "everything." Jesus assures us, you will "receive a hundred times more." In him we offer an acceptable sacrifice.
As we enter the Holy Season of Lent, we contemplate the life God has given us. No matter how dark the hour, the light shines within us in eager anticipation of his Rising.