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Offer It Up

First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10A

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre,
as he sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before the three men;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15:2-3, 5

R. (1a) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
One who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money for profit
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28

Brothers and sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Gospel: Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

DEV_JU17

“I rejoice in my sufferings . . .”

It seems so counter-cultural. To take joy in your sufferings? Typically we are told to just partake in a little “me time” and our woes will be relieved. Yet I’ve never truly found that to be the case.

When I was in college, or away from home for my first job, or even a newlywed, I would often call my mom to lament over a situation that I was in or a challenge I was facing. What I wanted her to do was lament with me, make me feel validated for what I was feeling. Instead, she would listen and then say these words, “Offer it up.”

What?!

Not exactly what I wanted to hear then. But when she spoke them, it usually pushed me to do two things: one, to take a deep breath and suppress my desire to simply say she must not understand, and two, to eventually see the situation in a different light.

Now, a decade later, with five kiddos underfoot, I would like to say I finally get it. No, I don’t always handle suffering well, but I do understand that it has a purpose, and a great one at that . . . to unite ourselves with Christ and His suffering on the cross, in order to find meaning in what can easily be seen as useless pain.

For the times when we’re slandered by another’s harsh words, let’s offer it up for the one who cannot hear . . . even a harsh word.

For the times when our children are being stinkers, let’s offer it up for those who would give anything to have a child . . . even a disobedient one.

For the times when the perfect job for you is given to someone else, let’s offer it up for those who cannot work . . . even at the most “imperfect” job.

For the times when you don’t feel supported by your husband, let’s offer it up for those who feel their lives would be complete in simply having a husband . . . even one who misunderstands.

For the times when a loved one breaks your heart, let’s offer it up for those who pray to only have one more moment with a family member now gone . . . even if that moment was a tough one.

Even if just for the current moment, let us all find joy in our sufferings, regardless of their size. We are in this together. And, united with Him, our suffering has meaning, for us, and all those surrounding us. Let’s find joy in that.

Write a list of people you can offer your sufferings for this day and take joy in knowing your pain wasn’t wasted.

photo credit

Britt Fisk is the wife of Jeremy and mother of five young kids.  She spends her days living simply in the-middle-of-nowhere-New Mexico helping with the family beef cattle operation. You can find out more about her here.

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