Many times, when people are asked to bring up the gifts, they are reluctant, and I am sure there are many reasons. People are shy, or they haven’t done it before and aren’t sure what to do, or they don’t want to be the center of attention, or maybe they are afraid that they will be feeling emotional in the moment, and maybe they even think it’s not that important. We can erect barriers, or excuse ourselves, even for the simplest things we are asked to do. We are sure that somebody else can do it. Sometimes we don’t believe the invitation is actually directed personally to us. Even if somebody else brings up the gifts at a Mass we attend, the message is still the same: we are included in that symbolic gesture, just as the words of the gospel are a direct and personal invitation to each one of us.
The procession with the bread and wine is symbolic of our own journey from this life to eternal life. The bread and wine are also symbolic of each one of us. Just as the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, so are we transformed as members of that Body. When, in addition to the gifts of bread and wine, members of the community offer gifts of money for the work of the Church or donations of food for the poor, this symbolizes our willingness to share what we have been given to be used for the building of God’s kingdom. It shows our willingness to put Jesus’s invitation to follow him into visible practice. It is a concrete way for us to show our desire not to be possessed by our riches, not to have divided hearts, not to be reluctant, but to give of ourselves, emptying ourselves to follow Christ.
Take your next step: Think of something you have been asked to do that you were reluctant to do. With love and compassion for yourself, try to think about the reasons you were hesitant. Ask yourself if these kinds of reasons are preventing you from responding to invitations from God to grow into deeper relationship with him and with others.