Homily for First Holy Communion
This Sunday some of the children of our parish received Holy Communion for the first time, so I prepared a special homily for them.
Little Brothers and Sisters
My favorite saint is St. Francis of Assisi. He and his best friends got together and started a group called the Little Brothers. Well, I haven’t joined the little brothers (I am worried that I might not be little enough), but St. Francis and I are both brothers in another way, we are both Deacons. So, I think it is right that we talk with one another today as St. Francis would have us address one another – My Little Brothers and Sisters.
Everyone is dressed up so nice today! I wonder why? Is it because you are going to see someone special? Who? Your best friend? We are dressed up today because today is a very special day – for all of us here today – but especially for you. Today you will welcome Jesus into your souls in a very special way.
Playing and Fasting
Today, we have fasted for a little bit, we didn’t eat anything for at least an hour before coming to mass. Why? To let our hearts hunger a little bit for Jesus, when He comes into our soul. Have you ever been out all day playing really hard. Running around, climbing trees, finding frogs, scaring your sister or your brother? Then when you get home from such a busy day of play you sit down for dinner, and even if it is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cold glass of milk it tastes so good! This is why we fast a little before Mass, so that when we come to the Altar to receive Jesus, He tastes so good!
Clean – Body and Soul
I bet many of you had to take a bath, scrub behind the ears and dress up in nice clothes. Even more importantly than coming to Mass with clean hands and face is that we come to Mass with a clean soul. This is why many of you went to confession to clean out the sin off of your soul, so that when Jesus comes to visit in your soul here at the Mass you are most able to talk with Him.
I want to tell you about the special meal that you are going to receive today. To do so, I am going to get the help of another Saint, Tommy Aquinas. Tommy was a Dominican Priest lived a long time ago. Tommy loved his food. In fact he was so big that they had to cut out a hole in his desk so he could sit at it.
Being Italian, his favorite food was probably Spaghetti. But, had it been invented at the time, I am sure that it would have been Ice Cream.
Bread of Angels
Tommy wrote that the best food ever, better than Spaghetti and Ice Cream put together is the Bread of Angels – Which is the Holy Eucharist. Tommy loved the Bread of Angels so much that he wrote a song that goes like this
The bread of angels becomes the bread of manWhen we receive the Body of Christ, and we drink the Blood of Christ we are eating and drinking the food of eternal life. That is why Tommy called it the Bread of Angels and the Bread of Heaven. It really needs to be special food if it is bread from heaven.
The bread of heaven puts an end to symbols
The Consecration – How the Bread of Wheat becomes the Bread of Angels
But that makes me wonder. How does the bread from heaven get here? When we bring up the gifts, we bring up ordinary bread and wine – bread made from wheat, and wine made from grapes. Then, during the Mass, the Holy Spirit, working through Father Dan comes and changes this bread and this wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus – the Son of God. When that happens it is really important, and if the Altar Servers are paying attention, they ring the bells to remind everyone – Hey this is important, Jesus is here!
Then, later in the Mass (As Tommy says in his song)
You God, three and one
Visit us as we pray to you;
By your footsteps guide us on our way
To the light which you inhabit.
An Important Guest in our Little House
We come up to the Altar and we receive the Lord. It is always important to receive Jesus and not to take Him. We need to remember how special we are to be able to receive Him into our souls. Think of your soul as a little house, and you are sitting inside your house, dressed up nice and special waiting for a very important guest to arrive. When that guest arrives, they will knock on the door. Do we get up, open the door and pull them in? Or do we open the door, and bow low, out of respect, and invite them in? This is why when we see Jesus in the Eucharist we bow with our heads, and then when the minister says to us – The Body of Christ – we reply – Amen (I believe it!).
Visit with your BFF (best friend forever)
Then we return to our seats in the pew. And this time, Jesus comes into the little house of your soul for a visit. How do you act when your best friend comes over? You want to do things with you. That is why Jesus comes to us every week, so that every week we can do stuff together. Share with Jesus your prayers, your thoughts, your worries. Tell Him thank you for visiting your soul. Ask Him for help with the problems that you have, tell Him how you feel.
Queens and Kings
My good friend St. Francis used to say this to the Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses of his time: “Put aside your worries and receive with Joy the Most Holy Body and Most Holy Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ!”