Offering our Lives to God through the Eucharist

My Homily from this weekend! Enjoy!

We are all familiarabout the way we practice our faith and the rituals we have, but I heard about a friend of mine who is close to someone of the Romanian Orthodox faith. As a part of their practice, the faithful would take turns making the bread for the upcoming Mass. My friend told me that the woman he knew at times was in charge of making this bread. She also had a son with Autism, and her son had to deal with much insomnia. There would be nights where he couldn’t sleep at all. When those nights happened,shewould sit up all night with her sonso thathe would feel safe.Some of those nights were during the time she was her time on the schedule, and while she was doing what was required of her, she would offer up her exhaustion, her love for her son and anything else she was going through at that moment to God.  We could say that her love for her son, her exhaustion was an ingredient that week in the Eucharist.

In today’s Gospel,we hear about the apostles needing to prepare food for the 5000 people. They don’t carry enough with them to feed this many, sothey look around to see if anyone has food. They find this boy who has something but not enough for the entire crowd. However,he still is willing to give the little he has to Jesus. Jesus surprises us, andthese fiveloaves and two fish are enough to feed 5000 people. The boy is doing something similar to what this woman did who offered her experience with her son toGod. It may seem that what they providedis not a lot, it’s one night of many and the boy in today’s Gospel has maybe enough to feed a small family. However,both of them offered everything they had atthat moment, and God who is all powerful who can provide anoverabundancefor us was able to take this small offering and make it enough plus more for 5000 people.

You may be asking yourself what can I give? We get the bread and wine for the Eucharist from a company; the Church provides everything that we need for this Mass. While it is true we don’t share the practices of this eastern church; we do share the tradition of offering what is going on in our lives to God during this mass.

In a minutewe will go back to what we are all familiar with, the collection will be taken up, we will sing a hymn, and we will prepare to enter into the liturgy of the Eucharist. Today listen to what Fr. Paul will pray before we he continues with the prayers over the Eucharist. “Pray brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almightyfather.” All of us have an opportunity at this mass, and in our daily lives to make our sacrifices to God. We can do the same thing the mother did by offering up her exhaustion and her love for her son. We can do the same thing the boy in today’s Gospel did. We bring to God the things that we have in this life, our sufferings, our struggles, even our joys, and celebrations. We can tell God “Lord take the struggle I’ve had this week at work and makeit a part of my offering to you at this mass, make it a part of my sacrifice at this mass.”

This is a beautiful part of our CatholicFaith. We have the opportunity to take the small insignificant parts of our daily lives and unite them to Christ and the sacrifice of the Mass.  Yesterday we laid to rest a member of the Church in White Castle. The funeral was beautiful, butas we went to the graveside,it was HOT. I think the heat index was 105 degrees. For us it was an opportunity to offer our sweat, the heat we are sitting in, dressed in formal clothing with a jacket to God. Just like God took the small amount off loaves and fish and turned it into an abundance, he can takewhat we offer to him in our own lives and bring about fruit not just for us but the people around us too.

Take a few moments as we prepare to enter into this next part of the mass, to call to mind something from your week. Maybe it’s a joy that we’ve had, a family member of ours who is suffering froman illness, a stressful moment this week, a disease, or a disagreement with someone else. Take that experience, whatever that is and offer it to God in this next part of Mass. We could say, “Jesus I offer you this struggle, and how it’s affecting me right now to you.” God will take all of what we offer and transform it and bring fruit from it.

We can make this offering a part of our daily lives as well. Doing yard work outside in the 100-degree weather,  take the time to offer it up to God. We can make a regular offering, bring our daily struggles and joys to God. However, we should at-least during Mass offer something up to God to help us enter more deeply into this great mystery.

The woman I told you about gives a lot of love energy to caring for her son and especially on those nights when he can’t sleep. For her it is a powerful experience to see the Priest take the bread she made with all her love and offer it to God as a part of this sacrifice. Soon Fr. Paul will provide on our behalf the bread and wine to God, as we approach this great miracle we see every day at Mass, may we offer up our own lives to God so he can sanctify us as we follow him.


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