One of the great highlights of the year in parish life is when we celebrate the joyful occasion of our young children receiving their First Holy Communion. We are delighted therefore that today more than 25 of our children will experience this wonderful grace in their lives. Next Sunday too we will again rejoice as 10 children from St. Anthony’s School will also receive their First Holy Communion.
As we join in prayer for our young children on this special day, each of us is invited to remember the joy we felt on our own First Holy Communion, and to renew our sense of joy and love in being able to receive the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ.
St. Therese of Lisieux, one of our most beloved saints, spoke movingly of her own memories of receiving her First Holy Communion in 1884, and of how it transformed her life in every way. She wrote in her autobiography “At last the most wonderful day of my life arrived, and I can remember every tiny detail of those heavenly hours and my joyous waking up at dawn filled with excitement. How lovely it was, that first kiss of Jesus in my heart — it was truly a kiss of love. I knew that I was loved and said, “I love You, and I give myself to You forever.” Jesus asked for nothing in return”.
Let it be the prayer of each of us today that as our children receive their First Holy Communion, they too will experience that first kiss of Jesus in their hearts, and that for the rest of their lives they will never forget that each time they receive Holy Communion they will recognise that loving kiss of grace of peace and joy and strength of faith.
The celebration of First Holy Communion in any parish is also meant to be a source of new life and joy for all of us. In the first place, the joy which the parents and families of our children will experience today is also an invitation to recognise that Catholic family life needs to be sustained and strengthened through attendance at Holy Mass and through receiving Holy Communion as a family. It is also a reminder that for our children and young people the home environment is the primary place where they should come to know the love and mercy of God
At an even broader level, today is a reminder to all of us at Holy Redeemer that we are being called to be a truly Eucharistic community. In receiving the Body and Blood of Christ together, we are given the grace we need to live our life together in the love of God, serving each other and bearing daily witness to the merciful love of Jesus.
On this day of grace we ask God’s blessing on our children and their families, and also on our Catechists who have done so much to prepare the children for this wonderful day. May each of us today receive the kiss of Jesus in our hearts.
Fr Gerard, CSsR