Saturday, April 13, 2013

Smart Kids 2

This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets 

not even half done

Last Wednesday was the first of three Mass classes. Early on, I guided the kids in figuring out that in the word Liturgy (Leitourgia), '-urgy' means work, as in energy. There's no good way to have them figure out that lit means people, so I just gave them that datum (which rarely happens). Then they conclude that lit-urgy is people-work (more or less). And like in the Loaves and Fishes miracle, at Mass the people do their work, and Jesus does the God work.

Later when discussing the Offertory, I asked if it'd be ok for us to bring up wheat and grape juice instead of bread and wine. Usually someone is quick to say bread and wine was used by Jesus or Melchizedek, so that's what we use. But this year for the first time, a child said, "If it's just wheat and grapes then we haven't done all our work." What a genius! Typically they don't figure out the 'work' aspect until we discuss these bits:

 "...through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands/ it will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands/ it will become our spiritual drink."

And by the way, that's the new translation, which as usual I prefer to the the prior one for catechetical reasons. In the old trans we have: "this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made." In the new, it's: "the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands" This is better in class because using the word work directly corresponds to the meaning of Lit-urgy, people-work. I wonder if the translators did this with deliberate reference to the etymology of Liturgy? Regardless, it makes for clearer teaching.


For those who must know, the Catechism says:

1069 The word "liturgy" originally meant a "public work" or a "service in the name of/on behalf of the people." In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God."

Harvest by Mykola Pymonenko


noreen said...

Hi Christian, I came over from Sunday Snippets to say hello. What grade do you teach? That one boy's response is wonderful. He must have good teachers at home and in RE class. May God bless your work with your students.

Christian LeBlanc said...

Noreen, I teach 6th-graders: plenty smart, but not jaded.

Moonshadow said...

The most meaningful part of the new translation in the preparation of the gifts for me is "we have received" in both instances, more clearly showing our offerings' dependence on God's providence.

I've heard "liturgical" used dismissively of the Catholic mass by non-Catholic Christian acquaintances, in reaction to its unchanging prayers. If they only knew what "liturgy" means.

Off and on, I've been troubled at the warning in Scripture against bowing down to the work of our hands. For instance, a month ago, Hosea 14:3 was read at mass (Fri. 3rd Wk Lent):

"We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands;"

We Catholics are clear in the offertory that we've produced the bread and wine, which the words of institution transubstantiate. We have no qualms about adoration, but after consecration, are the bread and wine still the "work of our hands?"

noreen said...

I teach first graders and they're a fresh slate. Eager to learn and most of what we talk about is new to them. I use a lot of visual aids, props and food to help the lesson sink in. Their parents tell me it's working!

Christian LeBlanc said...

I am way big on props. I need to write a book about them:

Re: bread and wine, in class we make careful distinction between what that stuff is before and after Consecration. I say we do the people-work of changing wheat & grapes to bread & wine, then Jesus does the God-work of changing them to body & blood.