The Preparation of the Altar and Gifts

The seemingly simple and utilitarian action of bringing forth gifts and setting the table is actually a profound moment in the Mass. The spiritual meaning of this action is that the faithful are offering themselves along with the gifts in this Eucharistic celebration.

Bread and wine are brought forward. The wheat and grapes used in their production a gift from God, but God has not made the bread and wine from these gifts, we have. These gifts represent cooperation between God, the Creator, and his creatures, human beings.

Bread and wine are very strong symbols in themselves. Bread is among the most basic of foods common in every culture. It is “the staff of life” representing what we need to stay alive. Wine is at the other end of the food spectrum. It is elegant, refined, and festive. Wine is a symbol of living well. Psalm 104 tells us that “wine gladdens men’s hearts.”

Jesus takes these two powerful natural symbols and makes them so much more by turning them into his very Body and Blood.

We place these gifts in the hands of Christ to be transformed, by placing them in the hands of the priest. By doing so, we ask that our lives may become what Christ’s life was and is.