A few moments ago, we heard a reading
in which John tells us he saw
“a new heavens and a new earth.”
Our world is beautiful!
Every day, as spring unfolds, it’s more wonderful.
Think of all his wonders to behold:
rivers and meadows, waterfalls and canyons,
snow-caps and rain forests, deserts and oceans—
Think of all the forms of life that fill the earth.
When night falls, look up and behold
the spangled sky, littered with gaudy extravagance.
Imagine what wonders fill the countless galaxies!
You fall asleep, dreaming of them!
What a world—why make a new one?
Because it is damaged.
I left out one part of God’s Creation: US!
Human beings have both the greatest potential—
but we can also do the greatest damage.
So we are the ones who need to be made new;
and a new us means a new heavens and a new earth.
What that might be like?
Well, imagine we could somehow extract from this world,
all the envy, and greed, and pride…
all the anger and apathy and selfishness?
That would be a “new heavens and a new earth”!
That and more is what John saw.
So: how do we get there?
Today we celebrate the Lord rising from the dead,
same as every Sunday.
Ah, but there’s something special today!
Many fellow believers here
will receive the Eucharist for the first time!
So I just asked: how do we get to the new Creation?
The Eucharist is how we get there.
Jesus told us many things.
He said, “I am the Bread of Life”;
He said, “my flesh and my blood are truly food and drink.”
In a few minutes, at this altar,
you’ll hear him say, through me,
“This is my Body” and “This is the Cup of my Blood.”
So all that points to the Eucharist we share.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus spoke of “glory”:
The Father gives glory to the Son;
and the Son shares his glory with us.
That happens through the Eucharist.
Boys and girls, I know that your teachers and parents
have taught you many things about the Eucharist.
We believe that we’re together
with Jesus, Mary, the saints and angels—
all heaven and earth, right here in the Mass!
We believe we don’t come to receive the Eucharist,
unless we have faith; unless we turn from our sins;
and unless we are ready to live as part of His Church,
the New People, his chosen Bride.
So the Eucharist is not a gift just for us:
this isn’t a “look at me, I’m special,” day;
Instead, this is a day Jesus chooses us in a new way,
to be givers and sharers of his life, with others.
All this is how we become his new creation.
I wish I could tell you that one time would do it!
But that isn’t how it works.
You were baptized as babies;
then you had to grow up some, before this day.
And far more lies ahead of you.
God wants us to grow into that new Creation.
In some ways, that’s harder;
but it’s also more real for us.
I know how excited you are, today—everyone is!
Aren’t you glad this isn’t the one and only time?
Let me tell you a secret…
The communion that matters the most,
isn’t the first…but the last one!
Remember I said, this Creation is wonderful—
but a new one is coming, far better?
This first communion is wonderful;
but the last one—the one that happens
in that new creation—
that’s the one to get excited about:
because that communion will never end!
Grownups, maybe you’re looking back
on your first communion.
But don’t look back, look forward—
to your next one, and to that last one!
And, if it’s been awhile, do as these young people did:
go to confession, and make another “first” communion,
back on your way to that forever communion!
Boys and girls, I just want to end by saying “Thank you!”
Your eagerness, your joy, is a lesson for everyone here.
I said a moment ago Jesus wants you to share
the new life he gives you in the Eucharist.
You know what? You’re already doing it!