Ultimate sacrifice
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - April 9, 2020 - 12:00am

We live in an imperfect world. And when times get rough and tough, we make compromises and sacrifices. Can it be superficial or profound, sacrifices stem from enormous motivations. Historically, all wars are packed with heroic deeds. The very essence of conflict requires courage to be an intrinsic part of that. But some men go far beyond their “call of duty” and take significant risks to serve a cause or protect an individual. Such warriors have fought and died for an ideology or leader they so deeply believed they were able to make the ultimate sacrifice in. Religion in history has been a prevalent cause of many conflicts, the Crusades being just one example.

It was the Pope who wanted support and protection in 1527, and it was the Swiss guards who safely carried him out of Rome. Though they were mercenaries or paid “hired guns;” these Swiss men were known as Europe’s best defenders. They had been staunch and faithful protectors of the Pope, but when Pope Clement VII chose to align himself with the French rather than with the Holy Roman Empire, war broke out and the guards came running.

Saigo Takamori had been a military figure in Japan in the 1800s. Yet the culture underwent drastic changes, dubbed the Meiji Restoration, and Saigo did not approve. He was a Samurai, and he fought these changes.

And in time of the coronavirus pandemic, we have stories of sacrifices, sacrificing one’s safety for others to be saved. We have volunteers who selflessly fight against Covid 19, they are our frontliners, medical workers, youths, janitors, police and military personnel, our barangay tanods, church people, artists, and every one of us. We will include our scientists and scholars who devoted their time to study the disease and its cure.

Specifically, an elderly priest who was dying, offered his ventilator to a younger patient to live; our retired doctors, nurses and medical workers who renewed their profession in order to be of service once again. Even a beauty queen who is willing to set aside the crown to serve as a doctor, someone who is willing to the be in far-flung area to serve the most neglected sector of the society, risking one’s life, uncertain if she could come back home.

And as we observe the Lenten season, we are reminded of the greatest sacrifice ever known to all of mankind — the death of our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus came to give himself for us as a sacrifice so we could escape our greed and reconnect with God.

The death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary was the culmination of His amazing work of compassion for us. He reconciled those who believe in Him with God through His death, and through His life He opened a path back to the Father to those who worship Him. Jesus defeated death by victory over sin. (Heb. 2:14–15).

We cannot be certain why God chose death by crucifixion for His Son. What we know, however, is that this manner of death was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. We also know that through His suffering, Jesus, God’s only Son, paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world, including yours and mine.

And so what drives an individual to sacrifice himself for another, or a cause? It’s difficult to know, but one trait it most definitely requires is selflessness. Indeed, when one dies for others to live, it’s the ultimate sacrifice.

SACRIFICE
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