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Youth Ministry Resources - Body and Blood of Christ

Year A: John 6:51-58 - The Body and Blood of Christ

It is not surprising that the evangelist John is selected as the Gospel to be read on this most important feast, because of all the evangelists, John writes emphatically that Jesus is the Son of God. There is no Messianic secret here as we find in the Synoptic gospels, John writes from the perspective of high Christology, so that there is never any doubt as to who Jesus really is.

We begin by hearing another of the "I AM" statements made by Jesus as he invokes the ancient name for God. Jesus makes the point that 'we must eat his body and drink his blood' four times during this relatively short passage so there is a most emphatic demand of the followers of Jesus, the Christ, to participate fully in the Eucharistic meal. Jesus compels his followers in this way to ensure that they receive eternal life.

We eat and drink throughout the day to ensure we remain healthy and we know that without food and drink we will die. Jesus is not overly concerned about having us live our time on earth forever, the compulsion and energy behind the encouragement to participate fully in the Eucharistic meal is because this eating and drinking brings us eternal life.

By participating fully in the Eucharist we become what we receive. When we are saying 'Amen' to the statement 'the Body of Christ' or 'the Blood of Christ' our Amen is our 'yes' to the reality that we are becoming Christ's body in the world. We can only be the Body of Christ if we are nourished at the Table of the Word and at the Table of the Eucharist because this participation is an experience of transformation.

We are meant to be different after our experience of Sunday Eucharist. We arrive as people who have failed at some things and succeeded at others during the week and we acknowledge our sinfulness during the Penitential Rite and through other acclamations "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you…" but at the same time we are nourished at the Table of the Word, and we bring our petitions, our gifts and our lives and place them on the Table of the Eucharist. We are healed and transformed into the Body of Christ to be broken and shared during the week in all our encounters.

It might be worth considering how we are going with our transformation. Do we speak to those around us in a welcoming manner? Do we abuse those who park their cars where we wish they wouldn't? Do we criticise the priest or the ministers as we drive home? Do we destroy someone's character with some 'home truths'? Do we affirm someone who is just starting as a Reader or Extraordinary Minister? Do we thank our priest for the thoughts presented in the homily? Do we say hello to someone we may not know? There are endless opportunities for transformation all we need to do is to be open to God's action in our lives.

Cate Mapstone

Year C: Luke 9:11-17 - Body and Blood of Christ

Luke's writing usually highlights hospitality, meals and the discipleship of both women and men. The ministry of Jesus is summarised by Jesus welcoming people and speaking about the Kingdom of God then healing and curing those who came to him. In the midst of what can be the most normal of occurrences - sharing a meal, Jesus teaches and performs a miracle. This is very reassuring for those of us who live rather ordinary lives because in the ordinariness of any day, God is teaching us and miracles can happen. We hear that 5,000 men had gathered, there would have also been women and children. The specific number is less important than the sense that 'everyone' had gathered. Jesus capitalises on the concern of the disciples for the welfare of the people by challenging them "you give them something to eat."

A rather daunting statement. Obviously what Jesus was asking of the disciples, women and men, was beyond human ability. They must have felt overwhelmed. How could they provide the hospitality needed for so many people? A miracle was needed to feed so many. So Jesus responded by taking the food, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples to distribute. Our Eucharistic hearts and minds resonate with those actions. We are the people who "do this in memory of me," the people who remember what has been and yet wait anxiously for the reality of God's coming. We pray daily "your Kingdom come, your will be done." The abundance of God's love is shown when the remaining food is gathered into twelve baskets. God's love is overflowing, there is no limit to God's generosity. Just as the disciples of Jesus' time, women and men, were given the blessed food to distribute to the crowd, we too are called to minister to the 'crowds' around us. When we are facing daunting situations, it is God's action that brings about the change in circumstances. We can only do God's work if we are nourished regularly by the Eucharist as we "remember to keep holy the Sabbath day."

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources Body and Blood of Christ
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Youth Ministry Resources Body and Blood of Christ