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The second reading tells us, “Be imitators of God and live in love as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us.” What a challenge. Has anyone ever imitated God? Have we created life? Have we instructed others? Have we helped the poor, the lost, the lonely? Actually... maybe we have. Some of us have children, have taught others and have assisted those in need. Perhaps we have had success in imitating God.
The reading instructs us further to imitate God and live in love as Christ loved us. The challenge grows. Have we loved as Christ loved us? Christ loved us and handed himself over for us. Are we capable of a sacrificial love such as this? Sacrificial love has the good of the other at heart. Sacrificial love asks the most of the giver and often gives nothing in return.
There may be times when we are capable of sacrificial love, but not always. Life has the ability to wear down our desire or drive to love this way. How then, do we nourish ourselves to become more capable of this type of love? “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.” is the advice that the angel of the Lord gives to Elijah. This advice is good for us as well. The Bread of Life, Jesus, is offered for us on the altar today. The sacrifice of this Bread from Heaven is offered for us to feed us spiritually. It is offered to us freely to nourish our spirits to be able to love as Jesus loved. To nourish us to imitate God. This bread was given to us to sustain us on our earthly journey until we reach our heavenly home.
Jesus gave us his life as a sacrificial offering, a sacrificial love. The Eucharist is offered for us. It is offered to sustain us, to encourage us and to help us love sacrificially.