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Infinite vs. Finite - 03/04/2000

Have you asked yourself "how much God is there?"

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.

Just kid-ding.

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 "form"?

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.

That usually quiets down such questions. ;-)

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