May 20, 2015
By Father William Muench
Many parishes at this time of the year celebrate First Holy Communion. The children have been preparing and practicing so that now they can join the rest of their own family and the people of the parish going to the altar to receive the Blessed Eucharist. These children have watched their parents and brothers and sisters going to Holy Communion. Now, they will join them and be able to receive Holy Communion themselves.
As little ones, they were anxious; they wanted to join with the others at Holy Communion. They hated to be left out. I am certain you have heard some little children saying their mother or father, “why can’t I have some.”
I have noticed some little ones come up to me at Communion time, smiling and putting out their hands, hoping I would give them Communion. And then a parent would whisk them away. Now the task is to help them understand the sacredness and the meaning of the Blessed Eucharist.
I have often recounted interesting stories about little children at Mass. I remember one, many years ago. At Communion time, I noticed a man, carrying his daughter coming forward in the line – she must have been about four or five. As they got closer to the front, the young gift said, rather loudly, actually, in fact, it seemed like she shouted, “I want the Body of Christ.” It was quite a moment.
I am certain that many paused a moment. Everyone knew why they were going to Holy Communion that day. I pray that she still says that as she receives Holy Communion now.
First Holy Communion is a family sacramental time. Children in parishes everywhere are being guided by their parents to the altar of the Lord to receive the Blessed Eucharist for the first time and to experience the presence of the Lord in their lives in this special, sacramental way.
With the grace of God and the loving guidance of their parents, these children will grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus that they will discover in the Blessed Eucharist.
We all know the wonderful story of Jesus welcoming the children. The Gospel says that the apostles thought Jesus was tired and so they were keeping the children away from him. When Jesus noticed this, he told them to let them come and he welcomed them. We can almost picture that interesting scene as they climbed up into Jesus’ lap; they recognized how loving and caring he is. May these children discover this same loving Jesus as they receive their First Holy Communion.
First Holy Communion is an important event for all members of a parish. Each First Communion is a perfect time for each parishioner to renew his or her faith in the presence of Our Lord in this most special sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
This is a special time for each pastor also. It is an important occasion in each priest’s ministry as he welcomes another group of children closer to the Lord. I know myself as a priest that it is a time of prayer in hope and confidence that this will be the beginning of a deep friendship as these children come alive in the presence of the Lord – truly a rebirth in their faith. I am certain that I join with all pastors as they pray that all in their parish may have the same joy and excitement of receiving the Blessed Eucharist as these youngsters on the day of their First Holy Communion.
The Church will soon celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, that wonderful feast day when we all remember the institution of the Blessed Eucharist by the Lord with his apostles at the Last Supper. This is truly a feast to be celebrated with joy and a time of true rejoicing.
Our Lord wanted to remain with us – Jesus wants to be part of our lives for all times. Jesus comes to us in this sacrament when we truly receive His Body and Blood sacramentally.
May our faith always be strong enough that we never forget the meaning and glorious opportunity that is ours each time we receive Holy Communion.
At each Mass we unite ourselves with Jesus – just like at that Last Supper of Jesus – to celebrate and unite ourselves with the Lord and with each other in such a magnificent moment.
I often challenge people at Mass, not to leave Jesus in Church but to take the Lord with us as we go out to make our lives better and our world a better place.
Jesus has given us the gift of the Blessed Eucharist so that the Lord truly become part with us in such a wonderful way. In this sacrament, we truly believe that we receive the Body and Blood of Christ who becomes truly one with us.
The Lord truly wants to be part of our lives giving us unique strength. We are a different person each time we come to Mass, each time we receive Holy Communion.