The Offertory is the first of the four parts of the Holy Eucharist. At the Last Supper Jesus took bread, blessed bread, broke bread and gave bread. We take bread and wine (Offertory), bless bread and wine (Consecration), break bread (Fraction), and give bread and wine (Communion).
The Offertory refers to the offering we make to God on the Altar. Having heard the Word of God we are moved to respond by offering ourselves to God. On Sunday, two visible actions take place. There is a collection of alms (money). And bread and wine one placed on the altar. The second of these is the essential part of the Offertory. The bread and wine are the people’s gifts. The acolytes represent the people in presenting the elements to the celebrant.
We offer back to the Creator that which he gave (wheat and grape) modified by human effort (making the wheat into bread and the grape into wine). Through the tokens of bread and wine, the people (the creation) offer themselves back to God (the Creator). The alms are an appropriate complement. They are used to purchase the bread and wine. And, as Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (St. Matthew 6:21).
Use the time during the Offertory to reflect on the lessons and sermon and to prepare for the confession and prayers that follow.