In ancient times before people had access to currency they offered the gifts of their workd and their lives. One of the most ancient customs of the Church is that of the people themselves providing the bread and wine for the Eucharist. As the Roman liturgy spread to other lands, this rite became a true procession of all the people who brought forth not only bread and wine but at times also oil, candles, wheat, grapes, and other items of precious value. Although traces of the procession continued down to the end of the Middle Ages, the presentation of bread and wine by the faithful was, from the eleventh century, generally replaced by the giving of money.
You can often see at school masses the children bringing up the results of their work both in real and symbolic forms. At Chrismas we bring up some of the food collected for the poor. At least some of the monies collected should be brought up as this is for the maintenance of the Church, priests, workers and the poor in our communities and in the world. Even the pooorer areas of the Church here in Canada and abroad have helped with our Lenten collections and Development and Peace.
The Offertory is often accompanied by a song, which celebrates the communal aspects of the procession. The text, therefore, may be an appropriate song of praise or of rejoicing in keeping with the season.
There are many forms of collections. We are used to ushers coming to us but often offertory baskets are passed from one to another through the congregation. In some Korean-Canadian parishes all parishioners who wish to give an offering form a single file and bring their offering to the foot of the altar (can be seen in some places in Africa today).
Questions for Reflection:
1. Do I see myself bringing my gifts to the Altar?
2. How do I decide what is a proper amount to give?
3. Do I pray about this?
4. Do I reflect on the generosity of the Lord to me?
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 31:5
……….. the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruit of grain, wine, oil, honey and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.