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Do This In Remembrance of Me

Whenever I read the Gospel of the Loaves and Fishes (Luke 9:11-17), I wish I could’ve been one of the more than 5,000 people in the crowd. Being “vertically challenged” myself, I’m not sure what I would’ve seen or heard. This wasn’t a concert. Jesus wasn’t projected on a large screen or had His voice amplified when He said the blessing. No, this was a hungry crowd looking for healing and desiring a sign from Jesus that He was who everyone said He was.

I’m still amazed that this moment of Jesus’ ministry on earth was so important that all four Gospel writers gave testimony to it. You can almost see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s Instagram feed. Pictures of the two fish and five loaves of bread, of Jesus’ blessing – with hands outstretched, of the crowd of 5,000 (probably more), or the 12 baskets filled after the feast was over, perhaps with the hash tags:

#miracle

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#2+5=12

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#5000fed

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#satisfied

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But I wasn’t there, and I can only rely on the witness and testimony of the Gospel writers. Oh and the writing of St. Paul, who, by the way, was also not there to observe first hand what the 5,000 plus saw that day. Even St. Paul had to rely on the eyewitness of the apostles. In today’s second reading, he repeats what Jesus did with loaves and fish on that awesome day with bread and wine. Paul “took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

I am always overwhelmed at the power of not only the written Word of God, but equally by the oral tradition and passing down of our Catholic faith. I am overwhelmed by the boldness and courage of the early apostles, who entered towns they were not accepted in and endured trials, prison, and even death to have the honor to proclaim Jesus’ name and the story of salvation. Would I have had the same courage and boldness if I enjoyed the satisfying meal of fish and bread and was counted as one of the 5,000? I can honestly say I wouldn’t because, even now, I hold back proclaiming Christ as the only one who satisfies me.

Have you ever thought about how important your words and actions are to the teens you serve, to your family, and friends? They are watching you, listening to you, and sharing what you say and do with others in their life. This is how the Gospel message is passed down from generation to generation.

But what is the message we are boldly and courageously passing down? Is it a message that will satisfy them when they are being tempted by the desires of this world? Is it the truth they can build a foundation on when they’re persecuted, called a hypocrite, or “hater” in their schools? Is it your testimony that gives them hope when there appears to be no hope left?

The oral tradition of our Church should be more alive today than any other time in the history of the Church. We don’t need that oral tradition to be on our television screens, our Twitter feeds, or in the national media. Where we need it to be amplified is in the ears and hearts of our teens that God has placed in our care. As much as we have sources of media to reach one another, engaging a heart and leading them into an encounter with the Body and Blood of Christ comes through trust and relationships. Be aware of the message the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and calling you to share. “Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23)

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.