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Have you ever wondered why we bring forward the bread, wine, and collection money at Mass? Essentially, we are doing what the early Christians did almost 2000 years ago. They would bring to God all that they had to offer and place it on a table before the presider at Mass. For centuries, it was not only bread and wine. Vegetables, fruit, oil, eggs, and clothing were brought forward too. It was a moment of redistributing the wealth of the community so no one went hungry or shivered in the cold. The early Christians knew they could not celebrate the memory of Jesus’ sacrifice without themselves being generous to one another. Some bread and wine were chosen from these gifts to use at the Mass. The remainder were taken out afterwards and distributed to the sick, the poor, the widows, the unemployed, those in prison, and anyone who was needy. This is how they understood “Do this in memory of me.” For those early Christians, remembering Christ in the Mass was not just to think about Him, but how Jesus lived and loved in very practical ways.

Today, we bring forward bread and wine, as well as the fruits of our labor (the collection) to remind us of the blessings God has given us. These are our gifts to Him. As we see our gifts brought forward, we must remind ourselves that these gifts are to be used for a purpose – to give thanks and glory to God and become Christ to others who are not as blessed as we are. While taking care of the parish assets and budgeting for the next project are important, we must be mindful as those early Christians were, to use our blessings to take care of the poor and people in need so they too can experience the love of Jesus in their lives. Because, the symbolism of carrying gifts to the Altar is to offer ourselves, and all that we have, to God and those around us. Not because we are special, or privileged, or have more than we need, but because that is what Jesus wants us to do.

As the gifts are brought to the Altar this Sunday, let’s remember how they speak to our commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus. May you have a blessed week giving to our Lord.

Deacon John

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