We celebrate today the second of our First Communion Masses. We congratulate the many children who will be joining us at the Table of the Lord for the first time. Also, we thank their catechists for sacrificing so much to teach them so well! Please keep our “candidates” and their teachers in your prayers.
On one occasion (in St. John’s 6th chapter), people asked Jesus: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Responding to that abrupt question, Jesus said that not only should people “eat” His flesh, but they should also “drink” His blood. The concept of eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood remains paradoxical and shocking; and even among Christians today there are varied ways of understanding Christ’s presence in the Eucharistic bread and wine.
That wide variety of ‘ways’ notwithstanding, at the heart of the Catholic experience of the Eucharist is this: the same Jesus who gave His life for us on the Cross, gives Himself to us in sacramental form, as our food and drink in the Eucharist. He becomes “really present” in the Eucharist. He Himself says that He becomes food and drink so that we may draw life from Him: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will draw life from me.” The life flowing from Jesus as He died upon the Cross is shared with each of us when we eat His Body and drink His Blood in Communion. We also share in His promise of “Resurrected Life” when doing so.
Our children in our First Communion classes have heard this truth over and over: we receive the holy Eucharist in order to draw life from Christ, as branches draw life from the vine. We are then sent out from the Eucharist with the mission to live by His life and to follow His way. We thank Him for such a precious gift and we congratulate our children as they reach this important milestone on their journey.