Opening Question: What was the best birthday party you have ever gone to? Why was it special? Why do we have birthday parties?
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Now, what I received from the Lord, I give to you. On the night Jesus was arrested, he took a loaf of bread, said the blessing, broke it into pieces, and said, "Take and eat this. This is my body which is for you. Share this in my memory." In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine after dinner, and said, "This is the cup of God's new agreement with us. As often as you share this cup, do it in my memory." Whenever you eat this bread and drink from this cup together, you tell everyone about the death of the Lord, until he returns from heaven.
Everyone in Sally’s family was excited. Today was Grandma’s birthday. It was a special day because Grandma was a special lady. Ask anyone about Grandma and you got the same answer: “She’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet.”
At the birthday party, Sally’s Uncle George stood up and addressed the family. “Today we celebrate Grandma’s birthday. We don’t remember the day she was born, because none of us were alive then. But because she’s here, we are here. We are a living memory of her birth.” Then Uncle George turned to Grandma and said: “Grandma, thank you for being born!”
Birthday parties are special. We remember the birth of a brother or sister, a mom or dad, a close friend or next door neighbor. But we do not remember their birth in our heads. We remember it with a celebration. We gather everyone together, give gifts, sing songs, and eat special foods. These people are special to us, and we want them to know it.
When Jesus says, “Remember me” in today’s reading, he wants us to celebrate. Like a birthday, we gather together, sing songs, and eat special foods: bread and wine. And, like a birthday, we celebrate the new birth of a person who is with us. The person is Jesus. The new birth is his resurrection from the dead.
When we receive Communion, we receive the risen Jesus. He is with us because he is inside us. This is our way of remembering Jesus.
Bridging Question: How many of you are too small to do something, play ride on a ride at Disneyland, or play a sport, or play with your older brothers or sisters? How does people’s rejection make you feel?
Gospel: Luke 9:11-17
The crowds followed Jesus into the wilderness. So, he welcomed them and spoke to them about God’s Kingdom. He cured those in need.
Late in the day, the twelve apostles approached Jesus. “Tell the people ‘Goodbye,’” they told Jesus, “so they can go into the villages and fields around here to find food and a place to spend the night. After all, we’re in the wilderness.”
“You give them something to eat,” Jesus replied.
“All we have is five loaves of bread and two fish!” the apostles said. “We could go and buy food for all the people.”
Five thousand men were there .“Have everyone sit in groups of about fifty and get ready for dinner,” Jesus told his followers. The apostles gave the order and everyone sat down.
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish in his hands, looked up to heaven, and blessed the food. He broke the food into pieces and gave it to his followers so they could pass it out to the people. They ate, and everyone was satisfied. Then, his followers collected the twelve baskets of leftovers!
Joey was too small to play with the older kids. Play sports? The older kids simply took the baseball away from him, ran past him in touch football, and pushed him out of the way in soccer. “You’re just not big enough,” people would tell him if he complained.
One day, that all changed. The fire alarm at school went off, and everyone quietly filed out of the building. But, soon everyone knew it was not a drill. Smoke was pouring out of the library on the second floor of the building. Everyone knew the fire was real. The smoke was so thick from the fire no one could see the building!
Suddenly, there was a panic in one of the lines. A young girl was missing from her class. As the news spread, everyone felt helpless talking among themselves. But, then there was voice high in the oak tree and everyone fell silent. “I see the girl!” Joey shouted. “She’s in classroom next to the library. Joey had climbed to the highest part of the tree, higher than anyone else could, higher than the smoke.
Soon the firemen who just arrived ran into the building and carried the little girl out. Joey, the little boy no wanted to play with, suddenly became a hero. His classmates carried Joey on their shoulders off the playground. Now the little Joey was the biggest boy in the class.
Sometimes what little you have is enough. Joey was small, but he used his small size the save a girl. When Jesus asked the apostles how much food they had, they answered “Seven loaves and two fish.” That was enough. Jesus used those 7 pieces of food to feed over 5000 people. With tons of food left over.
Communion is like feeding so many with so little. A little host can feed so many and do so many good things. How can it? Because it is Jesus!
Closing Question: What does Communion mean to you?