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Posts Tagged ‘bread of life’

Last night’s class was the first of two relating to the Eucharist. We had a small turnout, only seven students, so no one escaped participation. For those of you following along with our home edition, the main chapter for the lesson was Chapter Ten.

 We began with an opening prayer that contained several references to Jesus as the “bread of life” and other similar images. We discussed this briefly.

 We introduced the first Eucharist at the Last Supper. We talked about how this was a Jewish Passover meal, but Jesus changed things. We provided a biblical/historical account of the Passover from Exodus and pointed out that, since Jesus and his apostles were all Jewish, the Last Supper began as their annual religious meal.

 The text referenced Jesus’s declaring a “new covenant.” So we talked about the meaning of a covenant, the ancient Jewish covenant dating back to Abraham and Moses, and the idea of Jesus establishing a new covenant at the Last Supper.

 We had the class read silently the next page that outlined how the Eucharist is a memorial, a meal and also a sacrifice. We talked a little about the concept of a sacrifice. We had them take a sheet of blank paper and create three columns, headed by “memorial,” “meal” and “sacrifice.” As they read the text, they were to list the ways the Sacarament fulfills each of these concepts.

 We spent most of the rest of the class discussing and emphasizing the concept of “real presence,” that Jesus is truly present in the consecrated host and wine, and not just a symbol, as believed by most other Christian denominations.

 We finished up with a Q&A review from the quiz at the end of the chapter. And of course, we quizzed all the students on “What did you learn tonight?”

 Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 11, which is the second chapter on the Eucharist, but the focus is on the structure of the Mass.

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Sometimes you beat the bear and sometimes the bear beats you. I’m afraid it was my turn to be beaten Wednesday night. The class was reasonably well behaved; that was not the problem. Whether it was the subject material, my teaching efforts or some external force, we just couldn’t get the class engaged. When I mentioned this to Mrs. Rudolphi after class she agreed, but said “Don’t worry about it Mike. I think maybe three of them were listening to you.” In any case, we plow on.

The class was the first of two on the Eucharist. We discussed the origin of the sacrament at the Last Supper, and explained the Last Supper as a celebration of the Jewish Passover. We emphasized that through the Eucharist we are:

Nourished in the Word of God

Joined more closely to Christ and one another

The grace of Baptism grows I us

We are strengthened to love and serve others.

We explained the concept of a covenant, and described the original covenant between God and the Jewish people. We also described how, at the Last Supper, Jesus disposed of the old covenant and created a new covenant for his followers. We celebrate this covenant in the Eucharist.

We discussed the Eucharist’s role as a memorial, a meal and a sacrifice. We had the class break up into pairs to work together. They read a passage from the text and listed ways the Eucharist fits into each of these roles.

We read the story of Jesus appearing to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. The disciples did not recognize Jesus until they stopped for a meal. When Jesus broke the loaf of bread, suddenly the disciples recognized him. We compared this story to connecting with Jesus through the breaking of bread in the Eucharist.

We particularly emphasized the key Catholic belief that Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. (Real Presence) We pointed out that while many Protestant churches have communion services, they believe the bread and wine (or grape juice) only represent Jesus. We believe that while the bread and wine do not change chemically, Jesus is truly present there.

We briefly discussed he concept of Jesus as the “bread of life.”

We gave out two “homework” assignments.

  1. To ask their parents to take them to Mass this weekend, and, when they receive the Eucharist, to think about the concepts we discussed.
  2. If they have not already done so, read all of the Gospel of Matthew through Chapter 8. We’ll have a short quiz at the start of class next week.

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