1st Holy Communion - homily
Congratulations to all of those who made their 1st Holy Communion today at St. Andrew's!!
I have a question for you all that I don’t want you to answer right away. I want you to think about it for a little bit. We are here today because you all are going to be eating food and consuming drink that you’ve never eaten or drank before. Why is this different from any food or drink you’ve had before for the first time? Ok, now I have some questions that you can answer right away…
When you had pizza for the first time, did your parents call a lot of people in your family to tell about it? Were they like, “hey, little Johnny is going to eat pizza for the first time this Saturday! Isn’t that great?” Did they do that? No, they didn’t, did they? When you drank soda for the first time, did they have you all get dressed up in your best dress or suit? Did they say, “ok, now, Suzie, you are going to get dressed up this Saturday for when you have a cup of Coco-Cola for the first time”? Did they do that? No, they didn’t, did they? How about when you all had steak for the first time…did they say, “Ok, Billy, you’re going to eat steak for the first time this Saturday., and you’re going to do it with all of your friends and family, and meet up at St. Andrew’s for it”? Did they do that? No, they didn’t, did they?
So, why are they doing all that today for the bread and wine you will eat and drink for the first time? What is so different about this food and drink that your family is here, you’re all dressed up, and we’re all together at St. Andrew’s for it? Who can tell me?
(some answers given were: “it’s the Body and Blood of Jesus…it’s the Body and Blood of the Lord…it’s something that our whole family shares in”). Yes, very good. This is no ordinary food and drink – it’s the Body and Blood of Jesus. It’s the Bread of Life! It’s the Bread that’s comes down from heaven.
Now, I asked you last week at the instructional Mass, and you got it right – what are the four words that are the whole reason we believe that the Eucharist that you will receive for the first time is the Body and Blood of Jesus? (answer given: “this is my body”). Yes! Jesus says, “this is my body”, and we believe him. He wasn’t joking around, and he never says anything that isn’t true. So, when he says about this bread and wine, “this is my body…this is my blood”, we believe that it isn’t bread and wine – it really is his body and blood! It looks like bread and smells like bread, but it isn’t bread – it’s the risen Body of Christ.
Now, I want you to cup your hands like you will in a few minutes to receive the Body of Christ. Look at your hands. In a few minutes, Jesus will be placed in your hands! He is the Son of God…the Creator of the Universe…and he will be in your hands. I would ask you to look at your tongues, but it’s kind of hard to do! But, it’s the same point…in a few minutes, Jesus will be placed on your tongue and into your mouth. Then, he will be in your stomach and soul.
As the readings said, you will receive mercy – Jesus is Mercy, he is Love…He is all good and all love. He loves you so much and wants to be so close to you that he wants to be in you. And, of course, when we have Jesus within us, he helps us to love others as he loves. The best way for us to love is to receive the Eucharist!
Finally, three more words. There are three words that I want you all to pray many times as you receive Jesus in the Eucharist today. They are the three words that sum up everything we do at Mass: “thank you, Jesus”. Than you, Jesus, for giving us your life, and for continuing to give us your life in the Eucharist. I ask you all to say in your hearts as you make your first Holy Communion, “thank you, Jesus”.