Wise and Serious Decisions
Opening Question: What is the greatest dream someone in elementary school can have? Is the dream possible or impossible? Why?
First Reading: Proverbs 9:1, 3-6
Let's pretend, for a moment, that this room is a time machine. We will go back two hundred years. When we see someone on the street, let's stop them and give them a list of things we can normally experience. Then we will are ask the people a simple question to each item: "Is it possible or impossible?"
1. People can fly in bird machines.
2. People can listen to 1 hour of music on a shiny plate.
3. People can talk to other people thousands of miles away.
4. People can get information from anywhere in the world in only a few
5. People can watch images sent invisibly through the air.
(Review airplanes, CD's, telephones, the Internet, and television.) These things we enjoy started out as dreams that people had. They worked hard to make their dreams become a reality.
Many people have dreams that do not become reality. They might work hard, but their dreams remain nothing more than dreams. The difference between someone with only a dream and someone who makes it a reality is "wisdom." Wisdom tells us what is possible and what is impossible; wisdom also tells us how to make the dream a reality.
Wisdom is God's gift to us. Let us use that gift often.
Bridge Question: Have you ever eaten something really chewy? How much work did you put into eating the bread?
Gospel: John 6:51-59
Jesus said to the people
"I am the living bread God sent from down from heaven.
If someone eats this bread, he will live forever.
The bread I will give is my flesh.
I give it so the world might really live!"
This caused heated argument among the people. "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" they shouted.
"Listen!" Jesus replied.
If you don't eat the flesh of the Son of Man,
and drink his blood,
you're not really alive.
The person who chews on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.
I will raise him up on the last day."
My flesh is the only food that really matters.
And my blood is the only drink that really matters.
The person who chews on my flesh,
and drinks my blood
stays close to me.
And I stay close to him.
The living Father sent me.
And I live because of the Father.
So, the person who chews on me
will live because of me.
This is the bread God sent down from heaven.
It's not like the manna our ancestors ate.
The person who chews on this bread will live forever!"
James was really hungry. As he looked through the cabinets in his kitchen, he realized his mother had not gone to the grocery store that week. There were no snack foods, no soda or juice, no string cheese or crackers. As he went from cabinet to cabinet, he found very little he liked.
In the last cabinet, James found peanut butter, sourdough bread, and grape jelly. "Oh, well," James sighed. "I have a peanut butter sandwich."
James took out all the ingredients and began to make his sandwich. The two pieces of sourdough bread were huge, so James piled the peanut butter and jelly on. James put the top piece of bread on the sandwich. For a moment, he gazed at his large creation. Then he took a big bite
At first, his teeth dug into the hard bread crust. He tore off his bite from the bread and chewed. And chewed. And chewed. The soft inner part of the bread and the peanut butter made James' bite really chewy. James swallowed and chased the first bite down with a drink of milk.
James torn into the sandwich for his second bite. It was just as chewy as the first. After a few moments of serious grinding, James swallowed, followed by a long, cool drink of milk.
James stopped to look at the sandwich and consider his meal. This sandwich was not just a meal, it was a commitment! It would take two glasses of milk to wash down the hard crust of bread, the stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth peanut butter, and the sweet jelly. This was a serious meal.
"Let's do it," James decided and he took his third bite. That sandwich would be his, no matter how long it took to eat.
After his meal, James' jaw hurt a little from his effort, but he felt full and satisfied. The sandwich was difficult to eat, but tasted good and hit the spot for his tummy.
In today's gospel, Jesus invites us to a different kind of meal. He asks us to chew on his Body and drink in his Blood. Even though the bread we receive at Communion is small and easily eaten, he tells us to chew on his Body, like James did when he ate his peanut butter sandwich. Does that mean Jesus wants us to chew and chew and chew on the host until nothing is left? No. Instead, he wants us to chew on his Body in our minds and our hearts. He wants us think about what he gives us, himself. He wants us to make a serious commitment in our hearts to love him and his followers. In that way, we can stay close to Jesus, and allow him to love us. In that way, we can live with Jesus forever.
Closing Reflection: When you go to Communion the next time, stop to think about what Jesus asks of you. How can you help others? How can you stay close to Jesus? Chew Jesus' words in your mind. Chew Jesus' love in your heart.