Proclaiming Faith

Loaves and Fishes

June 2nd, 2013 (see other dates)


Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Eucharistic Prayer I mentions both Abraham and Melchizedek, soon after our offering of bread and wine has become the "the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation."

Look with favor on these offerings
and accept them as once you accepted
the gifts of your servant Abel,
the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith,
and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek.
(Sacramentary, Eucharistic Prayer I)

Now we are offering Jesus back to the Father?and ourselves in him! After all these centuries of offerings, it is your turn to give yourself to God. How can you do this today, in your life?

Reading 1 Genesis 14:18-20

Reading 1 Reflection

The scene in our Old Testament reading is the city of Salem, which would later become Jerusalem. The king of that city, Melchizedek, was also a priest. He came out to give Abram, whom God later called Abraham, a blessing, and to share bread and wine with him. Melchizedek's blessing celebrated how God had protected Abram, the father of the Israelites, in a battle. Centuries later Christians saw a likeness between Jesus Christ and Melchizedek. They understood the sharing of bread and wine in this reading as a sign of the Eucharist.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

There are four important actions in every account of the first Eucharist: takes, gives thanks (or blesses), breaks, and shares. These four actions are present in our Eucharist today. In our Eucharist, this does not happen all at once. First, the priest repeats the words of Scripture as he does what Jesus did. When does the priest take and give thanks (or bless, or consecrate) the bread and wine? When does he break the bread, now the Body of Christ? When does he share the Body and Blood of Christ with us? Watch for these words and actions the next time you celebrate the Eucharist. How does it feel to know that you are participating in the action of Jesus that began at the Last Supper and still continues today?

Reading 2 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Reading 2 Reflection

Today, on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we listen to Paul's account of the Last Supper. Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and says, "This is my body."

He repeats the same actions with a cup of wine, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood." In the same way, the celebrant repeats the words and actions of Jesus in the eucharistic prayer at each Mass. When we gather together for Mass, we share the Body and Blood of Christ, just as Jesus invited us to do at the Last Supper.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

What four actions of Jesus make this event similar to the event of the Last Supper? This story shows Jesus taking ordinary food and asking that his disciples share it. How can we share ordinary food with the hungry today?

Consider this contradiction:

I always share the Body and Blood of Christ at the Eucharist. I never share ordinary food with the hungry. It seems from this event that Jesus would want us to do both.

How can we match up our willingness to share food with the hungry with our willingness to share Jesus in the Eucharist? How can we show our gratitude for the eucharistic meal Jesus shares with us and with our parishes? Can we accept the challenge to share with others in need, even if what we have to share seems small and insignificant?

Gospel Luke 9:11b-17

Gospel Reflection

Have you noticed how all the readings today speak of feeding people? Our gospel story shows us Jesus and the Twelve surrounded by a huge, hungry crowd. When the Twelve protest that they cannot feed everyone, Jesus has them divide the crowd into smaller groups. Then he takes what they have?five loaves, two fishes?gives thanks (blesses the food), breaks it, and invites the disciples to pass it around and share it. There is more than enough for everyone! We can, of course, see this story as a sign of the Eucharist, in which Jesus continues to feed the multitude of his followers. But we can also see it as a challenge to do what we can to feed the millions of hungry people in our world today.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

The Last Supper

Reenact Paul's account of the Last Supper. Gather the children in a large circle on the floor. Place a plate with flat bread and a goblet of grape juice in front of you. Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 to the children. Share the bread and juice as they are mentioned in the reading.

Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes

Tell the children the gospel story found in Luke 9:11-17. Reproduce a picture of the five loaves and two fishes. Color this and display it as you share the story. At the point in the story when Jesus asks his disciples to distribute this food, pass out copies of the picture of the loaves and fishes to all children. Have them color their pictures and place them side by side on a bulletin board to symbolize the multiplication of loaves and fishes.

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Sharing Our Food

Today's gospel describes how Jesus and the Twelve fed a huge crowd by sharing the loaves and fishes. Imagine that Jesus appears
in your parish church after everyone has prayed for the hungry. He asks: "Why not give them something to eat yourselves?" As members of the Body of Christ, how might your parish respond? Brainstorm together. You may want to write your ideas on paper or newsprint.

1. Ideas on parish meals for the elderly or the homeless

2. Ideas on recruiting members or raising money for Bread for the World or Catholic Relief Services

3. Ideas on starting or helping a parish soup kitchen or food pantry

What might your response to Jesus be? How can you take action?

Pray a Table Blessing

Does your family share a table blessing whenever two or more of you sit down and eat together? Being grateful for our daily food enables us to be more thankful for the eucharistic food of Jesus' Body and Blood. Complete one or more of these blessings and pray them with your family.

  • Bless us, O Lord, and these your gifts

  • Lord, you fed the crowd with a few loaves and fishes

  • Jesus, join us for our family meal

For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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