Remember the “offertory” of the Mass? The word offertory comes from two Latin words: Ob fero,
which means to “carry up front,” and so since the Second Vatican Council we have called this portion
of the Mass the Presentation of the Gifts.
Our understanding is that Jesus himself is the offering of the Mass. Nothing else, not the bread,
the wine or the money, is really being offered to God, only Jesus himself. During the liturgy we
participate in the one ongoing sacrifice of Christ. Jesus offered his whole life in the service of the
Father: even unto death.
During the preparation we are asked to take stock of the events of the preceding week as a basis for
our gratitude, which will be expressed in the Eucharistic Prayer. As the gifts of bread and wine
and money are collected and presented we might focus our thoughts, too, on how we can unite our
will to the Father’s will just as Jesus did. This cannot be accomplished casually for if we truly are
a united body we will be willing to risk our lives in order to imitate Jesus. That’s sacrifice! Are we
willing to go there?
The gifts presented are symbolic of our whole lives belonging to God, the work of our hands, bread
and wine which will become Jesus’ Body and Blood, our money which provides the financial support
needed to sustain our parish ministries. (February 1, 2004)