Congratulations to our First Communicants! This weekend, at the 5pm and 10:30am Masses, almost 50 of our second-graders will receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the very first time. This is always an exciting and joy-filled weekend, but this year even more so, since they will be able to receive both species. It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to offer the Precious Blood at our First Communion Mass, so we are so blessed that our young people will be able to receive this sacrament.
These young parishioners have been preparing hard all year to be ready for this big day, and they have a lot to teach us about the Eucharist. When you see the excitement as they anticipate receiving Jesus in the Eucharist – and when you see the pure joy on their faces after receiving Him – you realize that the Eucharist is much, much more than a symbol. Sometimes it can be easy to take the Eucharist for granted, but seeing how special this sacrament is to our children should remind us all just how amazing it is. We should be filled with awe every single time we come forward for Communion, just like they are.
This is especially important during the Eucharistic Revival, particularly as we prepare to begin our Parish Year of this three-year revival in June. I’m sure most of us have heard the dire statistics about the percentage of Catholics who either don’t understand or don’t accept that the Eucharist really is the Body and Blood of Christ, not just a symbol. If anyone ever thinks Jesus intended the Eucharist to be merely a symbol, I always suggest reading Chapter 6 from the Gospel of John from start to finish. Jesus tells the crowds that His flesh is true food, and His Blood is true drink, and that unless we eat His flesh and drank His Blood, we would not have life within us. When He does this, people are horrified and leave Him in droves. He has every opportunity to backpedal and tell them that He just meant it to be a symbol, but He doesn’t. Even though it means many of His disciples leave Him, He insists that the Eucharist really is His Body and Blood.
This tells us just how important the Eucharist is, and how much Jesus wants us to receive the divine life that comes to us in this sacrament. May we be just as grateful for the Eucharist this weekend as our second graders are!