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 because the gifts of
bread, wine and money are carried up front to the altar on behalf of the assembly.
We believe that Jesus himself is the
offering of the Mass. Nothing else, not the bread, the wine or the
monetary gifts are really being offered to God, only Jesus himself. 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, and our money
which provides the financial support needed to sustain our parish
ministries and outreach to the world around us.
At the eucharistic liturgy we participate
in the one ongoing sacrifice of Christ. Jesus offered his whole life in
the service of God the Father: even unto death.
During the preparation of the gifts at the
altar 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 when we acknowledge that all good things come from God and
offer ourselves for the service of the church.
As the gifts of bread and wine and money
are collected and presented we might wish to 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
willing to risk our lives for the sake of one another in order to
imitate Jesus. That’s sacrifice! Are we willing to go there? (August 8,