Alright boys and girls how many of you are excited for your first holy communion tonight? Why are you excited? Did you know that you are giving a precious gift to the rest of us here this evening? You are! Boys and girls, your joy, your joy in receiving Jesus, is a gift for all of us to witness. It is a reminder for all of us present, how joyful of an occasion receiving our Lord in the Holy Eucharist truly is.
As I look at these young faces getting ready to receive Jesus for the first time, I am reminded this evening, of my first time celebrating Mass. It was an awesome and beautiful day that I will never forget. Something that was passed on to me at my ordination I want to pass on to all of you. There is a saying offered as encouragement for newly ordained priests: Priests of God celebrate each Mass as if it was your first as if it was your last, and as if it was your only Mass. This saying is meant to encourage priests to celebrate Mass with the same joy as if it was their first, the same love as it was their last, and with same gratitude as if it was their only Mass.
This is my encouragement for all us present this evening; and especially for the first communicants! Whenever you receive communion, receive Jesus as if it was your first time, your last time, and your only time! In other words, may we receive Jesus with great joy, love and gratitude!
How do we know that Jesus loves us? Jesus says, love one another, as I have loved you. The cross shows us that Jesus loved us so much by offering his life for us. Not only that, but Jesus gave us the Eucharist, his body and blood, as a constant reminder of his love for each of us. Through Christ’s action on the cross and the Eucharist, he tells us that we are valued, precious and loved by God. This is why we have Joy. Not because we loved God first, but rather because he loves us and has loved us first! Friends, we can learn a lot from these little ones this weekend. Jesus proclaims to us this weekend that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. In a special way, Christ’s joy is on the faces of these little ones, may we too be filled with joy and the knowledge that we are loved tremendously by God.
This weekend, may the joy of the first communicants be our joy, a joy that reminds us that Jesus came so that we might have joy and that our joy would be complete.
In Christ’s Love and Friendship,