Monday, November 4, 2013
THE PRESENTATION OF THE OFFERINGS AT MASS HAS PRACTICAL BUT ALSO SYMBOLIC IMPORTANCE
Just how many sacrifices are offered at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Of course, everyone should answer the one and only Sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary brought forward in an eternal way on every Catholic altar in the world. Only one sacrifice is offered!
Oh really? Well then there must be some mistake in the revised English translation of the Roman Canon which the priest prays on our behalf in the first paragraph following the Sanctus:
"...that you accept and bless + these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices...."
Sound like sacrifices in the plural to me, how about you?
But of course we only offer one Sacrifice of Jesus at Mass in an unbloody way, so to what is this sentence referring? Well, Msgr. James Moroney says it refers to all the sacrifices of the clergy and laity together in their lives to live lives in union with Jesus Christ's sacrifice in and through His Church as they strive to make their lives holy as married people, single, in their work, family lives and so on.
Thus the presentation of the offerings at Mass has not only a practical aspect to it but a very spiritual aspect also, similar to the priest washing his hands at Mass which originally had the practical aspect of washing his hands which eventually had an added spiritual meaning laid upon it. The same is true too with the mingling of the water and wine at Mass, in the practical sense to cut the strong vinegar like wine, but also now in the spiritual sense of divinity and humanity mingling.
So when the laity bring the offerings to the priest at the altar, they are bringing not only bread and wine and financial offerings for the Church, they are bringing their own sacrifices to the altar too, the sacrifice to be one with Christ in all they do and say in their secular lives. They are to sacrifice to bring Christ to the world and to evangelize through example if not also by word. They are bringing their sacrifices to Jesus and asking Him to lift them up also to the Father as Christ is lifted up in sacrifice to the Father at the Holy Mass, where God the Father in His love accepts His most beloved Son's sacrifice for our sins and returns our Lord to us for our salvation.
How cool is that. Don't omit the presentation of the offerings at Mass on Sunday and try to explain that it is not just a practicality like the priest washing his hands, mingling water and wine together and placing a particle of the Sacred Host into the Precious Blood but there are spiritual meanings too that today are even more important to understand and appreciate.