Sunday, 23 June 2019

First Holy Communions -Our Daily Bread, Corpus Christi

Today is one of the most joyful of all of the days in the parish year, and for the children here making your First Holy Communion it should rank as one of the biggest days not just of this year but of your life. So I'd like, this morning, to say some words directly to the children making their First Holy Communion, and then to their parents.

So, children: today is your special day.
But it is special because it's about something other than you: it's about The Lord Jesus, and how He is going to come to you for the first time today in Holy Communion.
I want to remind you of a line from a prayer that you say all the time, a line of the Our Father:
"Give us this day our daily bread".
That prayer is about Holy Communion. What is the "daily bread"? It's Jesus, in Holy Communion -the bread that is no longer bread but has become Jesus Himself.

Jesus loves you. And He cares for you in lots of different ways, and He gives you lots of different things: the sun that shines on us, the roof over your head, the food on your tables, and so forth. And all of these things we pray for when ask, "Give us this day our daily bread".
But the oldest saints in the Church, the ones we call the 'Fathers' of the Church, they explained that this prayer refers especially to the Eucharist, to Holy Communion (and this interpretation is given in the GIRM n81)

Let me remind you what I've said about the Eucharist: that it is Jesus.
I pointed out to you that many things in life don't look like what they are.
This here, the processional cross behind me, this crucifix looks like Jesus, but it isn't Jesus.
And, I have a photo of my little nephew, and it looks like him, but it isn't him.
Well, the Eucharist is like that: it looks like one thing, but it IS something else: it looks like bread, tastes like bread, but it IS Jesus Christ: His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity -all present in Holy Communion.

So, this 'bread' is not bread, it is Jesus.
And the most important 'bread' we need is the food that satisfies not just our bodies but our souls, the heavenly food.
This is why this 'daily bread' is better called our 'bread of tomorrow' because in receiving it we receive and are strengthened by the food from heaven that will take us to heaven.
And it's because this is so important that you've been preparing for this all year and learning about this all year.

Now, parents:
You are here because you want something important for your children. You are here because you care about your children. You have brought them to be prepared during this year because you want this precious thing for your children.
Let me tell you, however, that all of that is a waste of time if it does not become a REGULAR repeated thing. Receiving Holy Communion will only be possible for your children if you are bringing them to Holy Mass each and EVERY Sunday: this is the only way they can benefit from this precious gift that they are receiving for the first time today.
I know that there are many things you want for your children, many things that compete with God and compete with Mass. But the most important gift to give your children is the food that LASTS, the food of heaven, the "bread of tomorrow" that we pray that we be permitted to receive 'today' -that Jesus has promised to give us today.

That is the great gift that those here are to receive for the first time.
So, children, be ready. Pray to Jesus. Ask Jesus to help you focus your thoughts. So that you will be ready to receive this great gift.

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