Notre Dame

Love Always Requires Sacrifice

by Father Brian J. Soliven on Saturday September 9, 2023

Last Wednesday, we added a new Mass time during the weekdays, 6:30am. The hope is to provide an opportunity for people who would like to receive Jesus in the Eucharist before they go to school or work. With our old Mass schedule, this made it difficult if you had a busy morning. I looked up the local Catholic churches, from Dixon to Fairfield, and the situation was the same. If you wanted to make it to work or school on time, going to Mass was not an option. I had no idea if anyone would come to church that early during the week, but I wanted to at least provide an opportunity for you to go, if you choose too. When Wednesday came, I wondered if it was a bad decision. When the clock hit 6:20am, the church was practically empty. I dropped my head in disappointment. I finished getting vested anyway, thinking if at least 15 people showed up, it would be a good start to a new Mass time. When we rang the bell to signal the beginning of Mass, I was shocked. The number of people in the church had suddenly jumped to 46! It was the first day!  Why did these people make the sacrifice to wake up early and lose sleep? LOVE. That’s the only reason why we do hard things for the sake of another. Every parent who’s had to wake up in the middle of the night to attend to a crying baby knows this. Every parent who gets up early to go to work in order to feed the family knows this. There’s no love without sacrifice. 

On the cover of the bulletin this weekend, we have pictures from the mission trip to Peru that some of our youth went on. Thanks to the generosity of many of our parishioners who bought desserts during the fundraiser that we had a few months ago, they were able to pay for a huge percentage of the plane tickets. Why would a group of our young people take time out of their busy schedules, fly to a strange country where they do not speak the language, and help complete strangers? LOVE. There’s no love without sacrifice. 

In the second reading today, St. Paul encourages the Christians in Rome, “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Cf. Romans 13:10). This is the heart of the deepest meaning of life. So often we search for purpose, we search for meaning, we search for more. The culture often tells us the meaning of happiness is buying things or bodily pleasure. I dare say no. The meaning of a fuller life will only be found in more radical love. To love the Christian way, is to lay down our life for the good of the other. This will always require me to die to myself. But that’s ok. There’s no love without sacrifice. Now do you see why there’s no greater act of love then Jesus dying on the cross for humanity?