Sunday, April 26, 2009

'The 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 tastelike 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.’


Anonymous said...

What an amazing homily for the children, Father! So simple, yet so profound--understandable at many levels. Thank you--these words brought tears to my eyes and made me remember those little First Communicants of ours so long ago. A Parishioner from St.Mary.

Maria said...

That was a lovely homily, Father. Truly wonderful. I bet you had all the children engaged with it. I bet watching the children receive the Body and Blood of Jesus must be a truly wonderful feeling for you.

I'm a 3rd grade Catechist at my parish, and my class made its First Communion last night, our priest had a really good homily as well. He engaged the children with a story and then quizzed them about the Eucharist. The hands that went up to answer his questions were my students and I felt proud to know they understood.

Thank you for sharing. I'm not sure I've left you a comment before, but I do stop by and read your blog quite often.
Maria in New Mexico

Jen said...

My eight year old will be making her first communion in about two weeks, and I have been begging Our Lord that she never stray like I did, only because having left Him, but then (by the grace of God) come back, I realized "how late I have loved Him". I'll be printing this out and reading it to my daughter. Thank you!

Vicki aka Diva Mom said...

That is beautiful, Father! I'm going to print that out to read to my (soon-to-be) 6-year-old son!

paramedicgirl said...

Very nice! I`m sure it captivated the adults, too.