Part Three: Liturgy of the Eucharist:
With the homily and Creed, the Liturgy of the Word comes to an end. Then begins the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the third part of the Holy Mass. After having listened to the Word of God, having reflected over them and having proclaimed our faith, we move to the Table of the Lord. At any meal in the home, there are three actions: we set the table, say grace and share the food. Just like this, we have at Mass, three rituals known as
• The Preparation of the Gifts
• Eucharistic Prayer and
• The Communion Rite.
Preparation of the Gifts:
During the early history of Christianity, each brought from their homes bread and wine to be offered in the Church and subsequently to be distributed for the participants and the poor. Similarly, today, bread and wine, as the fruit of people’s hard work, are brought to the altar, to be offered to God. Besides, members of the parish take up a collection from the assembly and bring it to the altar, as a sign of their sacrifice, to be used for the pastoral needs and the poor. The bread and wine and the monetary offering are the symbols of our hard work, our studies, our needs, our struggles and even our own weaknesses. The priest, then, mixes a drop of water with wine, reciting a prayer, “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity”. Having offered the bread and wine and prior to consecrating them, so that they may be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest washes the fingers, praying to God for his purification, “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin”. Finally, he invites the assembly to pray that the sacrifice might be acceptable to God.
To be continued
Fr. Arul Joseph V.