Invitations To An Important Meal
Opening Question: Have you ever been invited to a special party? Who's party? Why was it special?
First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-3
As Sammy sat at his desk in school, he was a card in an envelop. He opened the envelop. On the front of the card, he saw the words "Secret! Don't tell anyone!" Inside the card, he read an invitation to Chuck's house. He would have screamed in joy, but the bell rang for class. He arranged the books in his desk, but he had the biggest grin on his face.
During recess, Sammy saw his best friend Jamie. "Look what I have. It's a secret," Sammy teased Jamie.
"Isn't it cool!" Jamie said, ignoring Sammy's teasing. "We've going to spend the night at Chuck's! It will be just the three of us!"
All week, Sammy, Jamie, and Chuck waited for Friday night and the big party. Wait till next Sunday to find out what happened at the party.
Like Chuck invited his friends to a big party, God invites us to a celebration. Come and drink a cool drink. Come and eat good bread. Come, let's be friends and our friendship will last forever. That's what Mass is all about.
Bridging Question: When was the last time you had an important meal? Why was this meal important?
Gospel: Matthew: 14:13-21
When Jesus heard Herod had killed John the Baptist, he left there by boat to a deserted place so he could think by himself. The people heard Jesus left, so they left the local towns and followed him on foot. When Jesus came ashore, he saw how many people followed him. He felt sorry for them and healed their sick.
Just before sunset, his followers approached Jesus with a request:
"This place is deserted and it's late. Send the people away so they can buy themselves food in the towns around here."
"They don't have to leave. You give them something to eat," Jesus answered.
"We don't have any food except five dinner rolls and two fish!"
"Bring them to me."
Jesus told the people to sit down. Then, he took the five dinner rolls and two fish his followers brought him, looked up to heaven, and thanked God for the food by blessing him. He broke the rolls and gave it to his followers, so they could pass the food to the people. Everyone ate until they were full.
After the meal, his followers collected twelve baskets full of leftovers. There were five thousand men in crowd, not counting the women and children.
Sasha went to the park with her family for a picnic. She brought the sandwiches, her sister brought the sodas, and her mom brought the salads. The family was excited about the beautiful day they expected at the park.
The day did not disappoint Sasha. The clouds rolled by the blue, blue sky. The sun warmed the trees and grass of the park. Sasha felt good to be outside, running around and playing.
Before lunch, Sasha and her sister began to play "Hide and Go Seek" with her friends. As she ran from hiding place to hiding place, she began to notice a homeless woman holding a small child. The woman tried to comfort the crying child in a language Sasha did not understand. Sasha began to see the frail child was hungry.
After the game, Sasha and her family sat down for lunch. Out of the corner of her eye, Sasha saw the woman sitting on the park bench with her child sleeping in the woman's arms. "I wish we could do something for her, Sasha whispered. "They look so hungry."
"We don't have enough food to give them," her sister objected.
Sasha ignored her sister, got up, and walked over to the woman. Sasha offered the woman half of her sandwich and her soda. At first, the woman refused, but then accepted the food and drink. The woman woke up her child and began to fed her child the sandwich in small pieces.
When she returned, Sasha' mother beamed with pride. "That was a very nice thing you did," her mother said. "Let's go over and invite them to eat with us."
"But we don't have enough!" Sasha's sister complained.
"It will be enough," Sasha's mother answered.
The woman and her child did join them. And the food was enough for all of them. After a while the woman began to speak with the few English words she knew. At the end of the meal the woman smiled, her child got out of her arms, and began to play. Both Sasha and her sister joined in play time. Soon, they were all laughing and running around. This was fun!
Sasha and her family remembered that picnic for weeks afterwards. Like the people in the gospel, the little Sasha and her family had was enough to feed everyone. In their sharing they found blessing. Sasha found blessing with her new friends.
We find blessing when we share the little we have, especially at Mass. We offer ourselves to God in the small gifts of bread and wine. God blesses our gifts and shares them with us. But he shares something greater than food. He shares his Son with us at Communion. We share the small things, God blesses them, and we get back something much, much greater. This is the way God loves those who love others, especially those in need.
Closing Question: What can you share with others in need? What blessing do you think God will give you for your generosity?