In an effort to save time or make things simpler and to make things easier for servers, I have heard people suggest we can skip the offertory procession or the presentation of the gifts. This brings me back to that sad survey showing that less than half of all Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence. I hope this is in part because we have not done a good enough job teaching what we believe, and not a massive crisis of faith.
That said, at the Southwest Liturgical Conference, I heard a Deacon argue with Fr. James Burkhart, President of the SWLC, about this very topic and the Deacon insisted he was right because he had just had a similar discussion with his Bishop. Fr. James did an amazing job dealing with this, but we all left with some concerns as the Deacon left very sure that he was at a conference of a new aged group of crazy Catholics.
As the gifts are brought up, they are symbolic of our lives. The collection is our cold, hard earned, cash. That money is a true symbol of our lives in the time it took to make it. So when the bread and wine, which our tithing paid for, are placed on the altar, the reality is that we place our lives on the altar asking to be transformed into the body and blood of our Lord.
If you are thinking I have just flipped out, one of our prayers after Communion in the Missal’s 3rd Edition says, “Lord help us to become what we have received.” Are we becoming mini gods? Of course not, but with every celebration we are trying to become more fully the true presence of Christ in the world as the Body of Christ, the Church. I know if people truly understood the grace of our Eucharistic celebration that we would have standing room only every day. (I have a post that deals with this in regards to presidential prayers)
So there is work to be done. We have to start with the idea that what the community does is to bring about the real presence. We leave pondering the meaning and reality of that for our lives. It is easy to say these things, but I can tell from my actions and my temper, that I have not totally realized what this means in my life. Even though I preside at Eucharist as often as I can I still work at this daily. (With a congregation that is, I guess I could say Mass all day every day, but presiding at a communal prayer alone has never made sense to me!)
And the Pope says…
Most recently Pope Francis tells us in AMORIS LAETITIA that we need to be more open and not excluding people from communion as we all need that Grace.