After we experience Christ in the Liturgy of the Word, the next part of the mass is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This begins with the collection and presentation of our gifts to God. While this might seem a practical necessity, a way of transferring funds for the running of the parish, there is really much more to it than that. At the center of the gifts that are brought forward are the bread and the wine that will be consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. Think for a moment about that gift. Unless we give that gift and place it in God’s hands the Eucharist is not possible. The giving of gifts is a necessary part of our celebration of the Eucharist.
And what is the central gift that each of us present to God for the eucharist? Ourselves. Just as the Eucharist cannot take place without the bread and the wine being offered, it can’t take place without us. The giving of ourselves to God is also a necessary part of the mass. It is an imitation of Jesus’ offering of himself to God. And like much of our prayer when we gather together as a community, we give ourselves in real and tangible ways. The physical way we give of ourselves as an offering in the Eucharist is in giving some of what we have to the work of the church. That is why we pass the baskets as part of our preparation to celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We give from our means to the work that we as the church do together.
So the next time the collection basket comes past, remember its call to place yourself in God’s hands. Let it be a prayer of giving, even as you give from your means to the work of the church. Let God transform us all into the body and blood of Christ for the good of the world.
Rev Louis Meiman
Pastor, St Frances of Rome/St Leonard