Saturday, May 2, 2015

First Communion Mass

My homily for First Holy Communion Mass today is my first time preaching at my new parish. This is a significant event for me. I hope and pray that receiving our Lord for the first time is a significant event for those who received it today. As with everything in ministry, it was both my privilege and pleasure to preach, one I thank my new pastor for extending to me.

___________________________________________________________________________________ Readings: Acts 2:42-47; Ps 34; John 6:51-58


How many of you are given vocabulary lists at school? How many of you enjoy learning the meaning of new words? Here's quick quiz: As Catholics, what do we mean when we use the word "communion"?

The prefix com, in the word com- union is Latin meaning "with." "Union" is the act by which are joined together with something or someone. So, com-munion means “union with.” Holy Communion is union with Jesus and with everyone else who receives communion. We have one word to describe everyone who receives communion and that word is “Church”.

Today when you receive your First Communion, Jesus will join you to Himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and being joined to Jesus means becoming fully part of His Body, the Church.

In Holy Communion Jesus gives Himself to you body, blood, soul, and divinity. This is what Jesus meant when He said these words: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (John 6:53b-55). What does that mean?

It means in communion Jesus gives you all of Himself, not holding anything back. In return, Jesus asks you to give yourself to Him body, blood, soul, and humanity, which means giving yourself completely to Him, not holding anything back. The saints show us how to give ourselves entirely to Jesus.

Receiving communion is a privilege, which is why we say these words before we receive Holy Communion: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” What’s really cool is that Jesus will always say the word that heals you and helps you. Knowing that should make you want to receive Holy Communion often.

Jesus asks you to come to Mass and receive communion each and every Sunday. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Participating in Mass each and every Sunday is the way you fulfill two of the 10 Commandments- the commands to worship God and to keep the sabbath (Ex 20:3. 8-11; Deut 5:7.12-15)- and Jesus’ commandment to love God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength (Matt 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). In addition to demonstrating your love for God, the graces you receive in Holy Communion also enables and empowers you to keep Jesus’ second commandment- to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

By becoming a full member of Jesus’ Body, the Church, which happens when you receive Holy Communion, Jesus entrusts His mission to you. What is Jesus’ mission? To share the truth of the Gospel, the love of God, by how you live your life.

From the very beginning of the Church, as we heard in the very first verse of our first reading, those who follow Jesus have “devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Today is very special. It is a day to celebrate and to remember, which is why we’re having a party afterwards. But the best way to celebrate and remember today is by participating in the life of our parish. The center of our parish life is Sunday Mass.

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