Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting Ready for Holy Week: Unleavened Bread Family activity

A week before Holy Thursday, here's a recipe for the unleavened bread that plays such a pivotal role in the Exodus story--and in the Last Supper. I found this (originally prepared for our children's magazine) as I was packing up...

At the preparation of the gifts at Mass, the priest prays: “Through your goodness, we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.” Our shared work transforms the gifts of creation (wheat, water and grapes) into “the work of human hands.” So when we bring bread and wine for the Mass, we are really bringing ourselves. Through the prayer of consecration, our humble gifts are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of the Risen Lord Jesus. All that is left of the bread and wine are the sense-perceptible aspects: color, size, taste.

At the Last Supper, Jesus used the unleavened bread and pure wine of the Passover celebration to institute the sacrament of his Body and Blood. You and your child can experience something of the sign language of unleavened bread by making some yourselves. As you collaborate in making unleavened bread, consider the mercy and miracle of God: we bring our ordinary food and drink to the Mass, but God feeds us with the Body and Blood of his Son.

You will need
a cookie sheet, well dusted with flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 to 5 tablespoons water
(No salt!)

Preheat the oven to 375ยบ. Put the flour in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water, and mix well. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly to form into a ball of dough, add some drops of water and mix well. Add water carefully, a little at a time, until you form a ball of dough that will not stick to your hands. (You should be able to knead it like modeling clay.) Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a rectangle about as thick as two quarters stacked up. Place on non-stick or lightly greased baking pan. Using a knife, score the dough, as in the drawing below. (Scoring it will make it easy to break it neatly.)

Bake about 10-12 minutes at 375°. Cool on cooling rack. Refrigerate when cool. (Whole wheat flour and bread keep best when refrigerated.)

Bread made according to this recipe is valid for the Eucharist. Whether or not it will actually be used for Mass is a pastoral question that will be addressed according to your parish’s needs and traditions. This bread, like the more familiar round wafers, is not the Body of Christ unless it is consecrated through the Eucharistic prayer and the words of the Jesus spoken by the priest at Mass.

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