December 1, 2021
by Molly Mattingly
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 177

Isaiah 25:6-10a
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Matthew 15:29-37

Praying Advent Home Page

Beginning Advent


Preparing Children for Advent

In its early days, the Teach Bhríde house of post-grad volunteers in Ireland worked with fourth and fifth class (grade) students to prepare a “Class Mass” during the week. This was intended to continue their experience of Mass between First Communion in second class and Confirmation in sixth class, because not many families attended regularly. The kids would learn the gestures and responses, lead the songs as cantors and choir, proclaim the readings, bring up the gifts, and help compose the prayer intentions. The volunteers offered catechesis about the liturgy as they prepared. In one of these sessions, the volunteer told the students, “Eucharist means thanks-giving.” Among the many questions at the end (“Do you go to Disney World every weekend?” “Do you know [insert American celebrity]?”), the volunteer could tell that one boy was thinking very hard about something. He finally raised his hand and blurted out, “I thought Thanksgiving was an American holiday?” The volunteer replied, “Oh! It is! American Thanksgiving isn’t the same as Eucharist, but in both we offer praise and thanks for God’s gifts to us.”

Many of us are coming from a week centered around the American Thanksgiving feast. We have been filled with rich food and choice wines. Many have enjoyed gathering with loved ones around the table after a year or more apart. Many have voiced things for which they have been grateful in the past year. Now, imagine that God wants to give us an even better banquet than that, to spread a table before us as God’s anointed ones for eternity! Isaiah offers a vision of that heavenly banquet, when the veils that separate us from each other and from God will be gone, death destroyed, tears wiped away, and everyone brought together in joy. Jesus offers that generosity to all those following him in the Gospel. He has spent three days healing them and is concerned that they may collapse on the way home without food. Jesus’ compassion for those he loves moves him to even more generosity to sustain them. His closest disciples offer what they have, and when Jesus has given thanks for their offering, it is enough to fill everyone there. What a Eucharistic banquet to sustain us through this season of preparation!

Bread for the World” by Bernadette Farrell

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