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June 11, 2020

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The Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Year A)

Pause

Take a moment to still yourself. Take a deep breath and ask God for a renewed sense of presence with you in this moment.

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, obedient always to your Father’s will, throughout the world the Church renews your offering from the rising of the sun to its setting: unite in one body those who share the one bread.
Lord Jesus Christ, you stand at our door and knock: come to us, fill our hearts with your truth and stay with us.
Amen.

Sing or listen

FIRST READING

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
R: Praise the Lord, Jerusalem. Alleluia.

SECOND READING

1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Gospel

John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowd:
‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’

Then the Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

For Children

Today Jesus tells us that he is the living bread which has come down from heaven. That anyone who eats this bread will live forever.

He goes on to say that the bread he gives is his flesh, and that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood lives in him and he lives in them.

What do you think this means? We can’t eat Jesus can we?

Every time we come to Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus. And we come to share in it, even if we only have a blessing, welcoming Jesus into our lives.

With older children who have made their First Holy Communion, you could talk more about the significance of the Eucharist at this point. For younger ones, we have chosen to focus more on the importance of bread around the world.

Why do you think Jesus chose to talk about bread?

Bread is a very important food. It is a basic food eaten by people all over the world. It is an everyday food that all Jesus’ listeners would have recognised and understood.

When was the last time you had some bread? How often do you eat bread? Every day, once a week or just on special occasions?

How many different types of bread can you name? (eg. brown, white, baguette, pitta, naan, chapati, tortilla, rolls etc). How many different types of bread have you tried?

Bread is very important in the lives of many people around the world today. In fact, it can be life-changing.

In a village called Puentecitos in El Salvador a group of women run a bakery where they make rolls and other nice things. (You could show the illustration at this point).

One of the women, Sibia, says that making and selling bread has changed her life. “It has made a big change because for the first time we have some savings,” she says. Sibia and her friends are using this extra money to buy more ingredients for making their bread. They have also set up a savings group which Sibia leads so that they have more money for things they will need in the future.

The ingredients are getting more expensive but the women have not put the prices of their rolls up. Sibia says this is because people who are poor cannot afford it.

The women know that everyone needs food, so if their customers have no money, they will let them ‘pay’ with a small possession that they are happy to give away instead of paying with money.

We pray for all the people who make sure that we have bread to eat every day. The people who grow the ingredients, who make the flour. We pray for Sibia and for all people who make bread around the world. The people who sell the bread and who buy it for us to eat. Let’s also pray especially for people who are struggling to get enough food to eat at this time.

Adapted from: https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Children-s-liturgy

For Everyone

Since the very first days of the Church, our brothers and sisters have been gathering every week for this sacred meal. Sometimes when we routinely do something, we can loose sight of just how wonderful it is. Over the past months we have had many restrictions preventing us from having the same access to the Eucharist. As these restrictions have now eased, we are in a unique position to reflect even more on just how much of a gift it is to be called by the Lord to gather in his presence, be guests at his table and eat and drink from his bounty.

The feast today highlights the central place of the Eucharist in Christian life, our faith that God becomes present in a real way in ordinary bread and wine – food for the journey of life in the bread, energy and joy for the journey of life in the wine. Bread and wine were very much part of the ordinary food of the people of his time, and also of their religious life.

Each time we come to Mass, we take part in a real way in the death and resurrection of the Lord, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his resurrection is ‘made present’ among us. It is a place and time of grace.

The Eucharist is a sacrament, a sign, a mystery; and as such it should convey meaning and truth and authenticity and life. And so it always involves words: words, firstly, in the actual celebration, the words of thanksgiving and prayer to the Father that justify the name of ‘The Eucharist’; and, words too that talk about what we are doing, explaining our actions to ourselves and to others. These words of explanation and exploration of meaning are what we call’ theology’. Today we face a problem with all these words.

For some the words about the Eucharist don’t really make sense, and neither does the gathering; it does not enhance their grasp of life or of the goodness of God. Many people are expressing their ‘theology’ (i.e. their understanding of what we are doing, whether it is an adequate theology or not) with their feet and are less likely to join the Sunday gathering.

The Eucharist is not just to commemorate something that happened many years ago. It is our commitment to Christ in his people, and our faith in his real presence among us in the Eucharist and in each other.

Jesus asks us to share the bread and cup, to proclaim this ‘mystery of faith’ for all time, we proclaim today that the Jesus of the tabernacle is the Jesus within all of us. Let’s be amazed that within each of us, God dwells in Jesus Christ.

The first reading from Deuteronomy describes how God guided his people in difficult times, leading them from slavery to freedom, not by an easy route, but through wilderness and hunger and danger. When you look back on your life, can you see how God may have done the same for you? – leading you in the right direction, but in ways that may not have been pleasant or easy?

The last weeks and months have been uniquely challenging for us all. It may have been hard to see where God was in the midst of it all and may continue to be. Despite these challenges, can we look today with grateful hearts at the way Jesus remains present to us and in particular the gift of his body and blood?

Recall moments when receiving communion gave you strength in your life.

You may like to pray: Lord, I believe in your presence in the Eucharist. Strengthen my belief.

Adapted from: https://www.catholicireland.net/sunday-homily/

Closing Prayer

Christ Jesus, Bread of Life, feed us with your love and wisdom and show us how we can help others, so that all people may have enough to eat. Amen.

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