Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Communion Days

Parishes around the area are celebrating First Communion these days, as second graders who have been preparing all year finally get to receive the Body and Blood of Christ at mass. A glance at the Lectionary shows how appropriate it would be for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, as the gospels throughout the Third Week are from chapter 6 of John's Gospel -- the Bread of Life discourse.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinkgs my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abindes in me, and I in him.
John 6:53-56 (read at mass on Friday of the Third Week of Easter)

Two of my girls went with me to mass at St. Joseph church in Egypt this morning, where two children (one of whom is a distant relative of mine) were first communicants. Father Emil Schuwe did a good job of bringing out the reality of Christ's presence in the sacramental species.

St. Joseph church features an elevated statue of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, to the right of the sanctuary. The statue depicts St. Gaspar holding a large crucifix. About a year and a half ago, said Fr. Schuwe, the crucifix came loose and fell, with the plaster corpus breaking into many pieces. In a symbolic way, the fracturing of the plaster body of Christ illustrated for parishioners the suffering that Jesus underwent in his passion and death. However symbolic it might have been, it was still only plaster.

Contrast that with the bread and wine offered at mass which, through the consecration, become the Body and Blood of Christ. It is no longer bread and wine, but Christ himself. The plaster of the crucifix looked like Jesus, but it was still just plaster. The consecrated host still looks like bread, but it is now the Body of Christ.

For all those making their First Communion this weekend, I pray that our Lord find within their hearts a soul that want to abide with Him and wants Him to abide with them. May they become worthy tabernacles of Chris, and may every subsequent communion be just as special.

1 comment:

Russ Martin (AKA "Steeple Chaser") said...

Nice timely post Kurt. My Graddaughter Emily had her first Communion this Saturday. It was a lovely Mass at Holy Angels. The priest did a great job of explaining the Eucharist, I even heard the bells. Of course I had to blog the event.