Breaking Bread, Sharing and Sending Forth
At Sunday SCORE the children experienced the basic elements of Eucharist: listening to the Scriptures, breaking bread and sending forth. At the beginning of class the children were instructed to listen quietly and to share when asked. Our gathering story, retold through the eyes of a child, helped the children ignite their imagination of Jesus teaching and feeding the multitudes of women, men and children.
Throughout the lesson, they listened attentively, and responded very enthusiastically to prompts, blessed and broke bread. At the conclusion of class, the children were sent to share bread with their families.
Listening to the Scriptures….There are many stories of Jesus sharing a meal with others. We read scripture stories of Jesus feeding the multitudes, Jesus eating with family and friends, Jesus breaking bread at Passover with his disciples. Using these stories to teach children about Eucharist shows that blessing and sharing food are central to our lives as Catholics. In Sunday’s class the children heard the story of Jesus feeding the many people gathered to hear him. Concerned about their physical well-being he asks the disciples to find food for the crowd of people. I asked the children, Jesus has a big problem here, and what should he do? One of the children responded, “Jesus needs ask everyone to share!” A teachable moment occurred through an insightful response of a child, “ask everyone to share.” Her response demonstrated God’s grace at work through an openness to God’s word.
Breaking of the bread… speaks a deeper reality of life’s sustenance, of God’s blessings and sharing those blessings with one another. For this part of the lesson we used small loaves of bread. I took one loaf and told the children that before sharing the bread, Jesus blessed it. We too, will bless the bread before we share it. The aroma of fresh bread permeated the classroom; and many of the children asked, “Can we eat it now?” How fitting, bread spoke to their physical hunger. In Eucharist, Jesus, the Bread of Life satisfies our deepest hungers, and mends our brokenness. A reflection question, what are the hungers in my life that Jesus, the Bread of Life can satisfy?
Sending forth….The children were instructed to share blessed bread with their family. Prior to dismissal, we extended our hands in a prayer of praise, thanking God for the gift of Jesus, and for our families. It was my hope that when you gathered at table for Sunday dinner the children shared their blessed bread, and retold the story of what we shared in class. In Eucharist, we are nourished by Jesus, the Bread of Life, and sent forth to live the Good News of Jesus. It is my hope that the lesson we did in class continues to speak a deeper reality that Jesus give us strength for our journey.