'Round the Table' Family Catechesis
The Holy Mass, Part 1 (3)
SUBJECT: The Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd
- The sheep is called to His table to be fed.
- The Good Shepherd is present in the Eucharist in the bread and wine
- The Good Shepherd gives himself to all people for all time expressed in the words of the Last Supper
- To provide the link between the Bible and the liturgy
- To present the gift of the Eucharist as the expression of the love of the Good Shepherd for the sheep
- To know that the sheep represents the people and to identify the special role of one of the sheep as the priest (part II)
- To foster the aspect of gift (self-giving) in the celebration of the Eucharist
- To enhance the appreciation of the community gathered as church
- To focus at the words of Consecration Jesus spoke during the Last Supper
Good Shepherd materials, image of the altar, image of paten and chalice.
Recall the parable of the Good Shepherd and invite the children to share what they know about the Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd calls each sheep by name and they follow because they know his voice.
He brings them to the green pastures.
He brings them to the still water; he calls each one by name and they follow because they know his voice. While moving sheep from the pasture to the still water, leave one sheep in the “dark place”.
At the end of the day, when sheep had enough to eat and to drink he brings them back to the sheepfold so sheep can be safe at night. And again he calls each one by name and they follow because they know his voice.
He counts his sheep and when he discovers that there is ninety-nine and one is missing he goes back to look for her.
Even though is very late and he is very tired he keeps calling the one that is missing until eventually she hears his voice. He picks her up and holds her on his shoulders. They don’t feel any more as they are separate; they feel like one. He brings her back to the sheepfold and all the sheep rejoice because the one who got lost was found.
Sometimes sheep follows a very similar voice, the voice of the hired hand that does not care for the sheep.
If the wolf comes, the hired man runs away because he cares only about himself. The wolf snatches them and scatters them
The Good Shepherd stands between the wolf and the sheep.
The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
But he is not just ordinary shepherd; he is the Good Shepherd. He is risen in three days. And again he calls each sheep by name, and they follow him, because they know his voice.
The Good Shepherd calls the sheep by their name. The Good Shepherd calls his sheep to be with him around the altar. (The Good Shepherd figure is placed in a central position on the altar).
Put away blue and black felt leaving the green felt (pasture) and the sheep in the sheepfold and present the following:
The sheep listen and respond to his voice. They gather around him in this very special place. (Move the sheep from the fold and place them around the altar).
At the Mass the Good Shepherd is very close to his sheep. When the Good Shepherd calls us around his altar he is present in the bread and wine. (Replace the image of the Good Shepherd with the image of paten and chalice. Pause for silent meditation).
Here, too, the Good Shepherd gives his whole life to the sheep. He cares for them, shows them the way, makes sure that they are not hungry, that they are safe, he searches for them when they get lost. He protects the sheep from wolf giving his life for them.
Who are the sheep? WE ARE THE SHEEP!
Sheep are the people who are called by name to find the Good Shepherd present in the bread and wine.
One sheep has a special role. This person is the priest. His mission is to proclaim the words of Jesus. The priest prayers Jesus’ word over the bread:
„Take and eat ,
this is my Body
which is given for you.”
and over the wine:
Take and drink,
this is my Blood
which is poured for you.
“That means that in the bread and the wine I give you my whole self; I am the Good Shepherd I give my life for my sheep”.
Children make figures of people and replace the sheep with the people. Remember to make a figure of the priest.
Invite children to draw in response to what they have heard.
Below is the teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
II. THE CHURCH - BODY OF CHRIST
The Church is communion with Jesus
787 From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. 215 Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you. . . . I am the vine, you are the branches."216 And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." 217
789 The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the Church as bride of Christ.
790 Believers who respond to God's word and become members of Christ's Body, become intimately united with him: "In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification." 220 This is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ's death and Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which "really sharing in the body of the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one another." 221
The Church is the Bride of Christ
796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist. 234 The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom." 235 The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him. 236 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb. 237 "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her." 238 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body: 239
This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church."240 And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh." 241 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself "brode." 242.
Marriage in the Lord
1612 The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for "the wedding-feast of the Lamb." 104
1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign - at his mother's request - during a wedding feast.105 The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence.
1614 In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. 106 The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder." 107
1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses. 108 By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.109 This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.
1616 This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her," adding at once: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church." 110
1617 The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath. 111 which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant. 112