‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.’(Invitatory antiphon)
During Covid-19, residents in urban areas greatly appreciate the wide green spaces for the daily 2km exercise. I personally benefit from the work of the members of Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council who planned a great acreage with paths, fields and sportsgrounds all of which are currently a great help to citizens. In addition, these spaces are regularly maintained to a very high standard by the Councils keeping them safe and attractive.
It is such a pleasure to walk each day with adequate social distance and notice the trees, the blossoms, the river and the hedgerows. It’s equally delightful to see families and young people make full use of the amenities-cycling, playing, walking dogs, exercising, picnicking and chatting as they enjoy and spend time together. Mams and Dads gaze at their children with love and cheer them on in their new ventures of cycling, athletics, games and running. This gaze is a reminder of the gaze of love that God has on all God’s creation. It also speaks of Mary and Joseph’s gaze of love on Jesus.
Today, the 1st May, we remember St Joseph, The Worker. We pray in his name for people whose work is to care for those who are sick with the corona virus, that they and their families may be safe and have the courage to persevere. This month we honour Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. We pray for her protection.
What does God ask in return for the constant gaze of love? I am left with the question the psalmist asks, ‘How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?’ (Psalm 116). God gives all creation life to the full. God desires to give Godself to everyone who believes in Jesus. God loves each one unconditionally. We strive to trust and surrender to God’s will.
Today’s Gospel (Jn 6: 52-59) heard at Mass via the webcam or it can be read personally in the New Testament. When Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life’ he gives the gift of himself. Food is important for sustenance in this life, like the manna was in the wilderness for the Jewish ancestors. They died but ‘the one who eats this bread [of life] will live forever.’ Jesus promises eternal life to those who eat his flesh and drink his blood. There is no better gift given than eternal life, ‘to know you the One true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’ Jesus is alive and will live in those who eat his flesh and drink his blood. The Father sent Jesus and Jesus lives because of the Father. In the same way, Jesus says, ‘whoever eats me will live because of me.’ This is food for eternal life. Jesus desires that we live with him now and forever in love. These words Jesus spoke ‘while he was teaching in the synagogue’. We follow Jesus as his disciples and believe he is living in us. This is Good News of hope and joy and it’s why we pray ‘alleluia’.
FOR THE CHILDREN
The children first experience love shown by their parents/guardians, grandparents, families and friends. They learn to appreciate this gift of love. As children grow they come to know God’s gaze of love and they deepen their relationship with God. They develop a personal friendship with Jesus and they encounter him in the Eucharist when they receive Holy Communion for the first time. Children learn to thank God for the concrete experiences of love through prayer and sharing love.
Holy Communion, the bread of life nourishes and strengthens the love within. Preparation to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion is a shared responsibility between home, parish and school. The Grow in Love programme supports this partnership. Following the liturgical year, children are taught about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The children grow in faith through regular experiences of prayer in the home, in the parish and in the school. Prayer is central to the faith formation of children and their families who are preparing to meet the risen Jesus in Holy Communion for the first time.
These days of the Easter season children are home/ schooled and it may be helpful to look through the various programmes of Grow in Love and use the helpful resources to learn more about the Eucharist. Prayers, poems and stories are included in the e-books. Resources are accessible on the VERITAS Grow in Love website
There also online resources relating to the Mass. The post resurrection stories help children to see that Jesus was given a new life after he died, called the resurrection. When he came back he met his friends but they did not recognise him at first but they eventually did when he shared a meal with them. There were full of joy at seeing Jesus. It may be a good time to read the stories of Mary Magdalene at the tomb, the disciples ‘On the Road to Emmaus’ and other stories about the disciples meeting the risen Jesus.
Children are taught that when they go to Mass that they too share a meal with Jesus. Jesus is present in four ways; in the assembly of the people; in the priest; in the Word; and under the appearance of bread and wine. Perhaps they might like to look at the webcam for a celebration of Eucharist and notice what is happening.
SING WITH GROW IN LOVE
Children enjoy the Grow in Love songs and pray as they sing with the lyrics/video lyrics: ‘Eat This Bread’, ‘Ithigí an t-Arán Seo’, ‘We Come to You Lord Jesus’, ‘Céad Míle Failte Romhat’, ‘The Last Supper’, ‘We Come To Your Feast’, ‘The Welcome Table’, ‘The Beatitudes’, ‘Who Do You Say That I Am?’ ‘O Sacrament Most Holy’, ‘Go Tell Everyone’, ‘Whatsoever You Do’, ‘Gircle of Friends’, ‘This Little Light of Mine’, ‘Christ Be Our Light’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
Invitation to Holy Communion
Celebrant: Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
People: Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.
When Receiving Holy Communion
Celebrant: The Body of Christ.
Prayer before Holy Communion
Lord Jesus, come to me.
Lord Jesus, give me your love.
Lord Jesus, come to me and give me yourself.
Lord Jesus, friend of children, come to me.
Lord Jesus, you are my Lord and my God.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Paidir roimh Chomaoineach
A Thiarna Íosa, tar chugam.
A Thiarna Íosa, tabhair dom do ghrá.
A thiarna Íosa, tar chugam agus
Tabhair tú féin dom.
A Thiarna Íosa, a chara na bpáistí, tar
A Thiarna Íosa, is tú mo Thiarna agus mo Dhia.
Moladh leat, a Thiarna Íosa Críost
Prayer after Holy Communion
Lord Jesus, I love and adore you.
You’re a special friend to me.
Welcome, Lord Jesus, O welcome,
Thank you for coming to me.
Thank you, Lord Jesus O thank you
for giving yourself to me.
Make me strong to show your love
wherever I may be.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all of us children in your loving care
and bring us to heaven to live with you there.
Paidir taréis Comaoineach
A Thiarna Íosa, gráim agus adhraim thú.
Is tú mo chara dílis.
Fáilte romhat, a Thiarna Íosa.
Go raibh maith agat as teacht chugam.
Go raibh maith agat, a Thiarna Íosa,
as ucht tú fein a thabhairt dom.
Cabhraigh liom do ghrá a léiriú
cibé áit a mbím.
Bí taobh liom, a Thiarna Íosa,
fan in aice liom go deo.
Beannaigh sinn, na páistí atá faoi do chúram
agus tabhair ar neamh sinn chun cónaithe leat féin.
Táim reidh anois, a Thiarna Íosa,
tá grá agam go leor.
Taim reidh anois le do ghrá a thabhairt
sa bhaile is don saol mór. Áiméan.
From Sixth Class, Grow in Love
O SACRAMENT MOST HOLY
‘O Sacrament most holy,
O Sacrament divine,
all praise and all thanksgiving
be every moment thine.’
‘Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation’. (Mk 16:15)
‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘Christ died on the Cross and rose again from the dead to redeem us, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon)
St Joseph, the Worker, pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon