This week our parish family will be celebrating a very big day in the lives of many of our young people as they receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. I don't know about you but my 1st Communion memories have stood the test of time. I remember with great fondness many moments of my own 1st Communion...(MANY years ago). For me, I was blessed to have my entire family present and we celebrated this occasion as momentous day in my life. Many things have changed in our church since I received my 1st Communion but, thankfully, many things have remained. For example, I remember that we were asked to get dressed back up in our 1st Communion outfits for the next week's Mass so that the parish could see how handsome and beautiful we looked. For some reason, I remember watching the congregation watch us receive Communion with big smiles on their faces. I asked myself and to a certain extent continue to ask myself this question. Why did they look at me with such reverence and joy when all of them were allowed to receive communion any time they wanted?
I think that one of the aspects of 1st Communion that we all cherish is the innocence and awe of the children who receive it. We see a faith in them that does not question, that does not fear and that is filled with life and expectation. There is a reverence and a joy about these children that not only bring us joy, but also bring us back to a time when maybe we felt the same way about it. Where did it go? Have we from time to time allowed this beautiful and traditional ritual of our faith become simply a part of a routine? You know what I mean...we sit, we stand, we say Amen, we sing, we receive Communion and then we are off to continue life as we know it. I think this type of pattern is easy to fall into. I would like to suggest something to all of us.
This week, remember your own 1st Communion. Remember the anticipation and the excitement. Remember the joy and the reverence. Remember the celebration and the family. And then, when you process with your parish family to receive Jesus, think of these children who will receive Jesus in the way we are all called to. It is true that taking the routine we have gotten into and transforming it back into the ritual it is will take some effort. It will in some ways force us to be more engaged, more prayerful and more filled with wonder and awe. But, when you think about it, isn't that what it should be? Isn't that what will increase our capacity to truly appreciate the gift we have in Eucharist, in the Mass and in the community we call home?
So, this week, let the wisdom and faith of these small children inspire you to see this precious gift with the eyes of a child and with the faith to know that when we do receive Eucharist, we grow even closer to Jesus, and by being closer to Jesus, he will bless us with the grace to see all things with the optimism and innocence of a child.
God Bless...Please Pray for our young children who will receive Jesus for the first time this weekend.
Music for April 17th