Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Sirach 35:1-12; Mark 10:28-31)
Americans call the day before the beginning of Lent “Mardi Gras” which means Fat Tuesday. The name comes from the medieval custom of consuming all the lard and butter in the house before the time of fasting begins. In those times during Lent the people abstained from fatty foods as a sacrifice to God. The first reading today aids in appreciating such sacrifices.
Sirach tells his readers how various sacrifices please the Lord. Most of all God appreciates offerings of obedience. The people who carry out His law, especially the commandment to love God and neighbor, please Him most. Physical sacrifices offered in tandem with living righteously are doubly gratifying. Of course, God does eat the animals brought to the Temple any more than a mother consumes the flowers brought to her on Mother’s Day. But knowing that His daughters and sons desire to please Him by offering what is satisfying to them brings satisfaction.
We make such sacrifices by refraining from what we enjoy during Lent. Again, in tandem with love for others such acts of self-denial especially please God. We would be deeply touched if a child were to all her savings to buy us a gift. We can also appreciate God’s satisfaction with our sacrifices however small they might be to Him.