Body and Blood of Christ (Ages 3-6): Those Special Words
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
In the Gospel for this Sunday, we listen again to the account of the Last Supper. We call it the "Last Supper" because it is the last time that Jesus eats a meal with his friends before he dies and rises to new life, never to die again. However, even though we call it the Last Supper, something happens there for the very first time.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, the disciples said to Jesus, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’
The Passover is the most holy meal for the Jewish people. It is a meal that God gave them to celebrate. The Jewish people celebrate the Passover meal every year in exactly the same way. They say the same words, they sing the same songs, they eat the same foods, they ask the same questions. Jesus celebrates the Passover meal in exactly the same way every year, too, until this last time. At the Last Supper, Jesus does something new. He says words that have never been spoken before.
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’
When Jesus gives his friends the bread, he tells them to take it. He wants them to have it. But Jesus says it is something more than bread. He says it is his body.
His body is how his friends know Jesus, isn't it? They know how Jesus walks, they know how Jesus runs, they know how Jesus smiles--they know him through his body. Now, they can know him through the bread, too, because Jesus says, "This is my body."
Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
When Jesus gives his friends the wine, he tells them that it is more than wine. He says it is his blood. Can we live without our blood? No. All people have blood so that they can live. Jesus is giving them his life.
He gives his friends the bread and the wine.
He gives them his body and his blood.
He gives them everything when he speaks those words for the very first time at the Last Supper.
This is my body.
This is my blood.
Maybe we should call it the First Supper!
These are not new words anymore, though, are they? We hear these words every time we gather for Mass.
The priest takes the bread and repeats Jesus' words,
This is my body
and the Holy Spirit makes sure that the bread is more than bread again.
Who is it now?
We know who it is through the bread.
The priest takes the chalice filled with wine and repeats Jesus' words,
This is my blood
and the Holy Spirit makes sure that the wine is more than wine again.
Whose life is it now?
We know whose life is with us through the wine.
When we see the Body and Blood of Jesus, we can show that we know it is him. We can bow our heads. We can kneel down and make ourselves small. We can give a little smile, because we know he is with us. In our hearts we can say something to him. What do you say to Jesus?