Missa – Bearing Gifts
As the Liturgy of the Word ends the church now begins to prepare for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This part of the Mass also is also about the “Word”, but not as the Sacred Scriptures. Now it takes this concept and moves it’s focus to the incarnation, which as we find in Scripture, means that the Word became flesh. And like story of the Nativity which begins the Gospel; the Liturgy of the word starts with the bearing of gifts.
What you will see here is this. As the prayer of the faithful is closed by the priest, everyone is seated. The Priest begins to prepare the altar for the gifts. Ushers will move around the congregation for the collection, which are our tithes and offerings that go to support the church, church property, ministries and the care of the poor. Meanwhile, a couple or family who were asked earlier to bring up the gifts, will make their way to the back of the church and as the collection completes, the family will bring forward the bread and wine while an usher brings forward the offering. To me this is like our “frankincense, myrrh and gold”. The procession moves toward the altar, down the center aisle where the priest and those assisting will receive the gifts and bring them to the altar.
The tie in to the events of the nativity are really my own way of looking at things. Maybe it’s just the way I process or think, but it is interesting how each part of the mass can be tied to stories and scenes from the Scripture. In this case it also helps to remind me that offerings and tithes must always be a gift to Jesus.