Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 29th, 2018 - 17th Sunday of OT - Preparation of the Gifts - Mass Series #6

Click on this Link to Listen to the Homily:  July 29th, 2018 - 17th Sunday of OT - Preparation of the Gifts - Mass Series #6  or use the player below.

It took me a few times of going to Mass before I started to know what to expect.  In this homily I talk about the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass and my own experience of it as I grew in the faith.

Readings:  2 KGS 4:42-44; PS 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18; EPH 4:1-6; JN 6:1-15

Gifts of Bread and Wine prepared for Mass

This homily was the 6th in the series.  Click on the links below for the other homilies.
June 10th, 2018 - 10th Sunday of OT - When I Returned to Mass in College - Mass Series #3
July 1st, 2018 - 13th Sunday of OT - The Beginning of Mass - Mass Series #4
July 22, 2018 - 16th Sunday of OT - Big Picture View of the Parts of the Mass - Mass Series #5

The information below is not the homily, but is a  related bulletin article.

Preparation of the Gifts (On Sundays)
At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the altar is being set with the sacred linens and vessels by the priest or deacon, assisted by the servers.  As the altar is prepared in the sanctuary for the gifts of bread and wine, we are to prepare the altar of our hearts for our spiritual offering. 
Also, during this time there is a collection taken up, where we give a portion of our possessions representing the gift of our whole selves to God.   Offering a portion of one’s own possessions to God is seen throughout Sacred Scripture such as by Abel the Just, Abraham our father in faith, and the high priest Melchizedek. 
A monetary donation during the collection fulfills the symbolic gesture in preparation for making the spiritual gift of oneself and Christ within us to God the Father during the Eucharistic Prayer.  Monetary donations also indicate and strengthen having God as our God and not having money as our god.  Lastly, they are used to cover the expenses of the parish enabling us to come together and worship God.
Bread, wine, and the collection are brought in procession by members of the congregation to the priest.  They represent all of the faithful, and the gifts they bring represent all that we are offering to God at this Mass.  Giving the gifts to the priest represent the request of the people for the priest to offer all of these things to God on behalf of all of us. 
The priest and deacon (if present) pray certain prayers quietly as the offertory hymn is sung.  Then, the priest washes his hands asking God to cleanse him of his sins. 
The priest asks the people to pray “that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”  The people respond, with prayer asking that God accept the sacrifice and listing the reasons for the sacrifice: for His glory, for us, and for the Church.
The Preparation of the Gifts conclude with the Prayer Over the Offerings, which like the Collect, is specific for the celebration of the day.

Monday, July 23, 2018

July 22nd, 2018 - 16th Sunday of OT - Big Picture View of the Parts of the Mass - Mass Series #5

Click on this link to listen to the homily:  July 22nd, 2018 - 16th Sunday of OT - Big Picture View of the Parts of the Mass - Mass Series #5

When I first returned to the Mass after being away, I had difficulty understanding what was happening.  It would have been helpful to me, if I knew what the big picture or major parts of the Mass were.  In my homily, I share with you what would have been helpful to me.

Readings:  JER 23:1-6; PS 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6; EPH 2:13-18; MK 6:30-34

The information below is not the homily, but is a combination of multiple related bulletin articles.

Structure of the Mass
The structure of the Mass goes all the way back to the Apostles.  There are two major parts:  The Liturgy of the Word and The Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Two minor parts act as book ends to the Mass:  The Introductory Rites and the Concluding Rites.
We prepare ourselves to enter into the sacred mystery of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  These rites include the Procession, Sign of the Cross, Penitential Act, Kyrie, Gloria, and Collect.
After the Collect we sit to meditate on a series of Biblical readings. Although the words we hear have been fixed in writing, we remember that they are the inspired Word of God and are truly alive (Heb 4:12). Through these readings, God intends to speak something new to us at this moment. We recall that the Word of God is not a book or a doctrine, it is a Person, Jesus Christ.  These readings include a First Reading, typically from the Old Testament (except during Easter), the Responsorial Psalm, the Second Reading, which is always from the New Testament, and a passage from one of the four Gospels.
The homily is meant to explain or reveal the meaning within the Sacred Scriptures and how they apply to us today.  Our response to the readings and the homily, is faith which is expressed on Sundays and Solemnities with the Creed.  That faith is then used along with hope and charity as we intercede for ourselves and others in the Prayers of the Faithful.
The Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word, prepare us for the climax found in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the Cross is made present to us again by the priest who does what Jesus did at the Last Supper. 
Within the Liturgy of the Eucharist there are many parts with many subparts.  In the Preparation of the Gifts, the altar is prepared and the gifts of bread and wine are presented. These gifts represent the offering of our lives, so we should bring our joys, sorrows, successes, and struggles to the altar. While we desire to make ourselves into a perfect offering to the Father, we can never accomplish this task alone, but we can offer ourselves worthily in union with the perfect offering of Jesus on the Cross.
The Eucharistic Prayer begins with a dialogue. “The Lord be with you … and with your spirit…”and concludes with the Great Amen where the community expresses its assent of this prayer. Through this prayer, offered by the priest for the people, Christ becomes present. Simple bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is the highest prayer of the Church. As such, it is this part of the Mass that should have our greatest attention.  The Eucharistic Prayer includes the Preface, the Sanctus, the Epiclesis, the Consecration, the Memorial Acclamation, Offering, Intercessions, Doxology, and the Great Amen.
We further prepare ourselves to receive Him in Holy Communion in the Communion Rite.  This rite includes:  The Lord’s Prayer, the Rite of Peace, the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), and Holy Communion.
The priest greets the people, blesses them, and then the priest (or deacon) dismisses the people.  At the end of Holy Mass, we give thanks and praise to Almighty God and we go out to bring this goodness to others through the conduct of holy lives.

July 29th, 2018 - 17th Sunday of OT - Preparation of the Gifts - Mass Series #6

Click on this Link to Listen to the Homily:   July 29th, 2018 - 17th Sunday of OT - Preparation of the Gifts - Mass Series #6   or use the p...