“May he make of us an eternal offering to you, so that we may obtain an inheritance with your elect.” Eucharist Prayer III
Often, we think of an offering as some money we put in a basket, probably something we can do without. We consider it our responsibility to support our parish, so the bills can be paid, and we can have a place to worship. But do we ever consider that we are the offering? The gift we place in the basket is just a practical way to present an offering of our time and sustenance to the God who has given us all things. Before we can give ourselves, our very body and soul, God must make us an offering. In other words, we are not the giver, but the gift that God gives to his Church.
Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
So many of you give yourselves to the work of God here at Guardian Angels and Our Lady of Hope: to build up the Body of Christ, to work towards unity in the faith, and to journey toward the discovery of the fullness of Christ. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of this great group of Christian faithful.
I could single out so many here in gratitude for your selfless acts of service and giving. I could embarrass all of you. However, I do have one I would like to mention, knowing just how angry I am about to make her. Sister Linda Barringer has given herself to Christ through decades of service as a religious. For the last 17 years she has given herself to the body of Christ as a teacher and equipper at Guardian Angels. Many of you reading this letter have benefited from her instruction. Some she guided into the Catholic Faith. Others she has instructed more deeply in the Faith. And for others she has instructed your children. It is unfair that she has come to her retirement at a time of such turmoil when traditional retirement parties cannot be held in her honor. She deserves better, and I hope we can do something more official for her in the fall. For now, please honor her by saying a prayer for her.
Whenever you hear in Mass, “make of us an offering to you,” consider the example of Sister Linda, priests, religious and lay people who sacrificially give themselves to the Body of Christ. And seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit of how he would give you to Christ and his Church.