Friday, March 8, 2019

Sacrificial Giving

Dear Parishioners,

Ritual offerings play a role in all the religions of the world. It has been that way from the beginning. However, for Israel it had a very different meaning. For Israel, it was a profession of faith of what God has done for God’s people (Dt 26:4-10; Rom 10:8-13; Lk 4:1-13). Basically, offerings were an acknowledgment that everything we have, everything we are, is a gift from God. That was so different from the other religions. In them, offerings were a way of approaching a god or goddess to receive benefits which it alone kept in secret. In short, it was a contract for services to be provided at a later date or simply a bribe. In Israel, the meaning behind the offering is reversed; it is done as a sign or gesture of thanksgiving. It is an admission that everything comes from God, and without God we would have nothing. For Israel, it was away to remember and give thanks as the people gave back to God in sacrifice.

It should be that way for us as well. But all too often, we think of our financial offering to God at Mass as just one more obligation in a life full of obligations and bills. Actually, it’s an opportunity to show God—in a sacrificial way—our love and gratitude for all He has done in the past and will do in the future. After all, don’t we say at the Presentation and the Preparation of the Gifts: “Blessed are you Lord God of all creation for through your goodness we have received the bread/the wine we offer you…”?

Fr. Carl