This weekend is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. So, in kid speak--it's an extra special Sunday.
The Short Version
We are celebrating that the Eucharist is truly Jesus' Body and Blood. He was the last and greatest sacrifice to let us attain eternal life with God!
This sacrifice business gets confusing, since we don't have blood sacrifices anymore, but it is a KEY part of our faith. Let's take a walk through the readings to make things clearer.
1st and 2nd Readings: Exodus 24:3-8 & Hebrews 9:11-15
These are pretty grisly readings that I will smooth out a bit for my kids. I can already picture that moment in Mass when Jake hears "Blood" and starts talking (yelling?) about splashing blood on the altar....hmmm, no thanks. While I won't be reading this aloud, I do think it's worth mentioning. Here is a rough script that you could use.
- Long ago, before Jesus was born, people had to make sacrifices to stay close to God. They would kill animals and burn the bodies. They would use animal sacrifices to make promises to God. These animals helped them remember the importance of God. In this reading, Moses and the Hebrew people are making a covenant or a promise to God. They are promising to follow God's rules. Some of the rules are the 10 Commandments...honor your father and mother....*wink*
- This was normal back then. HOWEVER, because of God's infinite awesomeness, we don't have to make animal sacrifices anymore! Praise God! More to come with the Gospel reading...
This is the story of the Last Supper! If you were at Mass on Holy Thursday, you'll remember hearing this story recently. The kids might also be able to recognize some quotes from this reading since we hear them at every Mass. (If they are actually listening to the reading instead of crawling under the pew to retrieve a car).
- Jesus met with his Apostles and celebrated the First Mass. We get the Mass from the words of the Bible and the tradition of the Catholic Church. There have been adjustments and translations throughout the 2000 years, but wise people who study these things tell me that ancient documents show that there have been very few changes to the true form of the Mass. (Revel in that for a moment.)
- This Last Supper happened the week that Jesus died. He was preparing His Apostles to continue the church without Him. Jesus showed them the Mass and expected them to share it with others to build the church.
- So, why do we eat Jesus' Body and drink His Blood? Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and we are remembering that He died to forgive our sins. When people sinned and messed up, they hurt their relationship with God.
- Think of a time when you disobeyed your parents (or called your mother the "Wickedest mom in the world!"). That hurt your relationship! You had to say sorry, and your mom/dad/etc. forgave you for whatever nonsense you got into.
- People always mess up...even Moses messed up! God wanted to forgive His people, but to show that they were sorry, that had to make sacrifices. So, each time they messed up, they would make sacrifices as their "time out."
- God (Jesus) changed this when He died on the cross. He was the final sacrifice so we don't make blood sacrifices. We relive Jesus' sacrifice in each celebration of the Mass. The Eucharist even immediately erases those small pesky sins!
- Take the cup of salvation. Salvation means that God saves us by forgiving our sins. We are remembering our salvation each time we receive the Eucharist...the blood is in a cup. I think you've got it.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga is the patron saint of high school students so this is a great week to add some extra prayers for those older kiddos!
That's all I have for this week. Don't forget to download a Catholic Kids Bulletin to share with your kids this weekend!
*Disclaimer* I'm not a theologian and this is not a textbook. I'm over-simplifying and making information understandable for little ears. If I'm missing things or misspeaking (writing), feel free to comment with your ideas. Thanks!