Somewhat a silly question, isn't it? Well, not to inquisitive
For the past 3 years in a row, I have been teaching 5th grade
Religious Education class. We definitely have sacraments (Sign
of God) tackled in detail each year and it is funny whenever the
subject of the Eucharist comes up. It seems that somehow, and I
do not know if it is me or the lesson plan, how we introduce the
subject of Eucharist does not provide a phatomable experience to
the kids as to the "quantity" of God in the Eucharist. We usually
start off the lesson with a "breaking of bread" prayer. Catechists
are actually asked to bring a loaf of bread (any type we want) to
class for this occasion. Now, of course, for this occasion, there
is no Eucharist (Most Blessed Sacrament) although I bless the
bread during the process before breaking them and handing them to
the kids. We read at least 4 Scripture verses pertaining to Jesus
as the "Bread of Life" and finally, we eat the blest bread.
This is not to show what occurs exactly at Mass, moreso not, what
happened at the Last Supper. That Last Supper verse were Jesus
spoke of the bread being His Body is not one of the verses read.
It is more on "sharing" a blessed bread to everyone on the table.
Then we proceed with the lesson, more on the sacrament of Eucharist.
Since we should overly emphasize that at Mass, it is actually
Jesus' Body and Blood that we receive at communion, as we go on
further with the lesson, all the kids could think about was
that bread we shared during the breaking of bread introductory
prayer session. And they see this bread to be "small" and not
enough if there were even more people to feed.
Then, we teach about how the Mass is occurring everyday all over
the world and they thought that means Jesus in the Eucharist is
all over the world. And the funny question I usually get is,
"is there enough Jesus to go around for everybody?"
Can you see and understand now how kids try to put quantity on
God (or everything for that matter)? They always do. That's why
I have always gotten this same question every year for the past
3 years from different sets of 10 to 11-year-olds.
"Won't Jesus ran out if He were in all the Eucharist of the
world during Mass everyday?"
I think it's this breaking of bread prayer session that
causes this that I think I should make a suggestion whenever we
have these teachers' meeting wherein we give feedback for what
ways we can improve the classes.
I really don't think that's to blame.
It just so happen, there are inquisitive kids out there who
"try to imagine" God as some quantity.
Can they help it if we teach them about Jesus to be that
"bread" which kids (or even adults perhaps) think is a finite
Then they ask, who makes the bread anyway? I tell them the
truth that they are specially baked wafers to be used at Mass.
They understand though, as we emphasize to them, that at
Mass, when the priest speaks the consecration prayer, this
bread now becomes Jesus Christ.
That's why they would ask that cyclical question "how much
Jesus is there?" to be able to be those gazillions of bread?
It's very tricky to deal with this central and sensitive issue.
Remember, we know the Eucharist is not just "symbol" of Jesus
and we should avoid saying the Host is just "symbolic" because
that is not true. Rather, we should teach that the Eucharist is
exactly the "sign" of Jesus' Real Presence, right there. After
consecration, gone are the bread and wine substance. Instead,
we have Jesus' Body and Blood which so happen to look only
like bread and wine. But that's Jesus' Body and Blood right
there after consecration. So you can NOT call them bread or
wine anymore because they are not anymore those substances.
Instead, they are the substance of Jesus' Body and Blood.
They understand that so well that's why they just have to
ask that cyclical question anyway.
However, I can not go about explaining to 10-year-olds about
transubstantiation and whatnot which may just further confuse
them. So the way I tell them in the most simple way they can
phatom, at their level of "quantitative" understanding, I ask
them back the question - "what is God?" I give them the answer
that God is an Almighty, Powerful, Everlasting Being Who does
not ran out. Imagine a cookie jar that never ever goes empty.
Even if you keep on taking cookies from it, it will always
have enough that it looks like nothing is taken out. Just like
that, forever there will always be plenty of God for each and
everyone of us to consume.