November 29th

The second part of the Mass is called the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  It begins with the offertory.  During the offertory, the altar is set and the gifts are brought forward and offered to God.

Just a few people present the gifts to the priest but the offertory is not a time for the rest of us to passively watch.  We should all be engaged at the offertory; each one should be offering their selves to God.  God has given us everything that we have that is good.  (cf. 1 Cor 4:7)  We offer everything back to Him out of gratitude.

While the bread and the wine are being presented, I can offer to God my life, my cares, my worries, my sufferings.  I can unite my whole self to Him, and thus my whole life becomes a pleasing offering to the Lord.  Spiritually place your heart on the paten that the priest is offering up, unite yourself to the offering of bread and wine.

The priest accepts the bread and the wine and gives thanks to God for giving them to us and offers them back to Him.  The priest then bows and prays that the Lord will be pleased with the sacrifice we offer.

There is then a ritual hand washing.  This is, of course, symbolic rather than hygienic.  While water is poured over the priest’s fingers, he prays: “Lord, wash away my iniquity; cleanse me from my sins.”  This ritual action reminds the priest, and the congregation as well, of the holiness of what is about to happen and the need to have a clean soul in order to offer worthily the sacrifice of the Mass.

God bless,

Father White

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