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The Best Gift to God

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

  • 3-6 year olds

(Adults, this Gospel speaks of end-times and the cost of discipleship--two topics that are beyond the needs of the 3-6 year old, beyond the questions the 3-6 year old has. I have focused this reflection on the first two verses and on the gift to God that endures, which ties into the last verse of this reading.)

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

We know that the Temple in Jerusalem was the most holy place in Israel, because within the Temple, inside the innermost room called the tabernacle, was God. Of course the people wanted to decorate the Temple with beauty! Of course they wanted to give gifts to God! They loved God! They wanted to give God the best that they had.

Jesus tells them, though, that the Temple would not last forever. It would be broken down, he says. And he was right, of course. If we go to Jerusalem today, we can see what is left of the Temple--some broken walls, some crumbling steps. It makes me feel bad, thinking of something so beautiful, made because people loved God, broken down.

We love God, too, and often we want to show God how much we love. We want to give God gifts, too. But we don't want them to get broken down.

What can we give to God?

There is a moment in the Mass, when the priest takes the bread that has become Jesus for us, and the chalice full of the wine that has become Jesus for us, and he raises them up high, as if he is giving them back to God. The greatest gift has come down from God to us, changing the ordinary bread and wine into something--some One--so special, so precious, so holy. Now the priest lifts it back up to God. It is like he is saying, "Thank-you for this gift; we want to give you something in return; this is the best thing that we have."

Let's think about the chalice for a minute. Remember the priest pours into it so much wine? The wine becomes Jesus, who is God. But he pours in something else, too. A little drop of water. Do you remember seeing that? The water is us. It is there because Jesus is not only God, but human, too. Human. That's us! We are in that chalice, too! When the priest lifts up the chalice to God, he is offering Jesus and us, too--all of us. We sing, Amen!

Jesus gives all of himself (body, blood, life) to us in the bread and in the wine. And he says, "Do this in memory of me." Do this. Give all of yourself.

Can we offer all of ourselves to God? Wouldn't that be a better gift than precious stones on the Temple? We can say it would be a gift that endures--that means it lasts, it doesn't break down.

When you are at Mass on Sunday, watch for the moment when the priest lifts up the bread and the chalice. He will pray, "Through him, and with him, and in him..." Through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus. You can say quietly, "Dear God, I give myself to you."

We give God the best that we have. Our whole selves.

Then sing, all together! Amen!

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