Posted by: fvbcdm | December 11, 2013

Feast of Pope Saint Damasus I (11 December 2013)

. . . And so, Father, we bring you these gifts . . .” Those words are taken from the third eucharistic prayer of Mass which we happened to use today in our community celebration.  And, like all the words of scripture and liturgy, they have the power of taking on new meaning despite the fact that we have used them time and again, and of “hitting us right between the eyes,” as the saying goes.”  We bring you these gifts.” What gifts?  A round, flat wafer of the simplest kind of bread, made with nothing but wheat flour and a little water, and about an ounce of grape wine without any additives. Isn’t it strange: when we want to worship the almighty God, we signify our desire to give him gifts by using such paltry things, such extremely simple offerings? Yes, it might be strange but we must remember that it is not we who chose those offerings but rather Christ our Lord who changed those basic, elemental, simple things into his own Body and Blood, and then said to us, “Do this in commemoration of Me.”

At the beginning of the eucharistic prayer of the Mass, we use those words over a little bread and wine.  But within just a few minutes, those nearly worthless things become priceless things because they go from the purely material to the divine. “This is My body . . . this is the cup of My blood . . .” And now we have the joy of knowing that we could not offer to the Father anything that would please and glorify Him more.  We recall his words at the moment of the Transfiguration: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

The worship of God is the highest activity of man, and is the right and privilege of every human being.  If it were expensive and difficult to perform, it would be out of the reach of many people.  But to attend Mass is neither expensive nor difficult; even the very poor can take part in the Mass.  And it is highly likely that their worship is more pleasing to God than that of the very wealthy.  Jesus made this point when he told his disciples that the poor woman who put only two small coins into the collection box of the temple had given more than all the others, relative to her possessions.

And then there are the non-tangible offerings that we can and do make to God.  We offer our “prayers, works, joys, and sufferings” as we say in one of the formulas of the Morning Offering.  We want every aspect of our lives, our personalities, our experiences to be GIFT to God.  As Our Divine Lord makes himself a gift to us and to the Father for our well-being, so we want to imitate him in being gift as well.

“And so, Father, we bring you these gifts.” The gift of his divine son, and the gift of ourselves. It is well to think of this at this time of year when Christmas gifts are so prominent. Jesus is the Christmas gift par excellence. His generosity is what gives every Christmas gift its ultimate meaning. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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