Do This in Remembrance of Me
The average Catholic sitting ’round the cafeteria will probably call to mind burnt offering and helpless little lambs and sprinkling blood when you mention sacrifice. I know I did. When you mention Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross they usually go “Oh yeah, something about him being a lamb, right? That’s, like, ironic ya know. Hey, you gonna eat that?” Facepalm.
At risk of sounding like a philosophy major, lets define some terms and dig a little deeper, and see what we can discover. Oversimplifying the matter, a sacrifice could be “the destruction of something precious to man, for the purpose of offering worship.”
Clearly those guys smashing up PS3s on Youtube be offering some crazy good sacrifices right there. But wait: who are they offering sacrifice to? After all, a sacrifice isn’t just about destroying stuff: when we destroy something precious to ourselves we should be doing it because it’s pleasing to the person we worship. When we destroy things, who do we please by doing so?
When Moses has Aaron kill a whole bunch of animals, the sacrifice is meant to please God and offer him worship. Jesus was precious to God and to man- I mean, he could cure people and raise the dead and all kinds of nifty stuff, and he was also God’s Son. What could be more precious than that? His total sacrifice of self on the cross was most pleasing to the Father, and was thus the ultimate act of worship to God. But yet when we sin we destroy our gift of grace that we got from God. We destroy ourselves and others. Who could this possibly please? Yeah. Satan. So sin = devil worship? It’s pretty simple really, here’s a quick list of example sacrifices:
- Giving up meat on Friday: worshipping the Real God
- Complaining about everything: worshipping Satan
- Suffering through your chores: God
- Killing your boss: Satan
- Acts of holiness: God
- Sinful acts: Satan
So a holy sacrifice is one that’s pleasing to God. But why is it that we need to offer sacrifices? There are lots of answers to this question, but the simplest comes to us from Jesus’ words in the last supper, which we hear every time we go to Mass: “Do this in remembrance of me!” Sure, lots of people hear those words and just think “Yeah, we should share some bread and sing songs together so we’ll never forget how nice Jesus was.” Nope. Jesus’ last supper was only the beginning of his sacrifice on the cross. When he said “Do this in remembrance of me,” we have to remember the context. When he asks us to “do this” he actually means “offer yourself as a sacrifice to my Father.”