Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Eucharist: God's Big Plan (First Communion homily)

Imagine this conversation,
between God and an angel, and a long, time ago.
God calls the angel over for a talk.

He says, "I’m putting together a plan
to save the human race.
My Son is going to earth,
to become one of them."

"Wow, that’s pretty impressive!"
you tell God.

"Wait, there’s more.
They’ll call him ‘Jesus’—
and he will suffer and die—
and rise from the dead!
That’s going to show everyone
the true evil of sin,
and also show them
there’s a way out of sin, back to life!

"Wow, that’s awesome,"
the angel says to God.

"Yes, we think this
will give the human race
a totally new focus.
They’ll know they can be forgiven;
and that they can change!
And, they won’t have to be afraid
of suffering and death,
they’ll know they can share
the very life of God!

"That will give them hope!"

"That’s a really great plan,"
the angel says to God.

"Well, there’s more.
We think it won’t work,
unless the human beings
are part of it, not just spectators.

"See, a lot of folks will come long after
Jesus’ dies and rises again—
and they need to be part of it, too!"
"Have you noticed," God says,
"how the baby humans
want to touch everything?
And, everything goes into their mouths!
They love to eat!"

"So, I’m thinking: food!
Food could really help the human race
get deeper into what
Jesus is going to do for them."

"I’m thinking of using bread and wine."

But you ask,
"God, how can bread and wine save them?"

"Well, it can’t!
Bread and wine are nothing
if that’s all they are!"

"So, would it be, like, a symbol?
Like a picture on the wall?"

"No, a symbol can’t save them, either!
It has to be really BE Jesus,
or else it’s nothing!

"What they need is to eat and drink
the life, and love,
the suffering and dying, and rising, of Jesus!
Eat and drink it.
That’s how it’ll be real to them;
That’s they’ll experience Him
being part of them,
and they’ll become part of Jesus!

"So," God says,
"I want them to eat Jesus’ Body and Blood."

"But, God, that sounds kind of yucky…"

"Well, it is yucky," God says.
But Jesus is going to suffer and die—
it is his Body and Blood that will save them!
They need to understand that.
But—so they won’t be afraid,
we will use bread and wine!

"It will truly be Jesus—
because only Jesus can save them;
but it will still look and taste
like bread and wine—
so it will be pleasing and attractive.

"This is how they will
literally be united with Jesus!"

"Wow, God! That’s quite a plan!"

"Well, I’ve been working on it for all eternity,"
God says with a smile.

But you have another question.
"Gee, isn’t all that a lot
for them to understand, all at once?"

"You’re right," God says.
"That’s why they won’t do it just once.
They’ll need to receive Jesus
over, and over, and over!"

"Even every day?"

"Yes, if they want to.
Certainly every Sunday:
that’s the ‘maintenance plan’:
Mass every Sunday
is how they’ll come to understand
what Jesus did for them.

"Plus, Jesus will be present
in their churches, in the Eucharist.
They’ll know how real he is!
They’ll be able to bring their friends,
and say, ‘See? Jesus is here! Jesus is real!
We receive Jesus’
Body and Blood in the Eucharist!

"What’s more, sharing the Eucharist this way
will show them a new way of living.

"When they come together at Mass,
it’ll be everyone—
rich and poor, black and white,
grownups and children,
healthy people, sick people—everyone!

"And they’ll realize
that only in Jesus can the world be one!
And when they realize
how much God forgave them,
they’ll be able to forgive one another."

So, finally, you ask:
"Why are you telling me—
just an angel—about this?"

"Because you’re going to be a guardian angel!

"Way in the future,
in a place called Piqua,
someone will be born
that you’ll be responsible for!

"You will help that child grow up,
and grow into,
the life and love of Jesus Christ!
And the Eucharist
will be absolutely central to that!

"Guardian angel,
you will encourage that child:
to come to Jesus in the Eucharist;
not just one time,
but week after week, even daily!

"I’m going to give that child
a hunger for the Eucharist;
I want you to keep reminding that child:
‘Jesus is my Food; Jesus is my Life.’

"So, let’s practice that, guardian angel:
‘Jesus is my Food; Jesus is my Life.’

"Guardian angel,
you whisper that into that child’s ear
every day of his or her life. Every day!
‘Jesus is my Food; Jesus is my Life.’


Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

Bravo! Very nicely done.

Deacon Jim said...

Perfect, and not just for children...

I loved the line about the maintenance plan.

Just absolutely great!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Father. That is beautiful. My grandson (third-grader) has been losing focus on Jesus lately, and I'm going to print it off for him.

Anonymous said...

It's perfect - keep teaching the truth - like a good Father - and absolving and feeding - like a good Father.

Love the guardian angel - I personally send my to check on my son - keep him safe and holy when I'm worried. I'll have him give that whisper in the other ear!