Do you remember your First Communion?
Oddly enough, I do remember mine...in particular, I remember the homily. OK, if you know me, it's not really that weird that I'd remember this...
Msgr McLaughlin at St Frances de Chantal in Wantagh, NY, preached this dynamic homily about bread and eucharist and faith. I'm sure I didn't understand much of it at seven years of age, but I remember his passion, I remember how eloquently he spoke to us and our families that morning.
Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to families who are preparing their children for communion I always ask...'what do YOU remember from your first communion"? and then, "what do you want your CHILD to remember from this day"?
This weekend we have 19 youngsters who will come to the table for the very first time. They have been preparing for this moment for a long time. Their families have encouraged them, supported them, surrounded them with love and nurtured them in this faith. I find myself praying deeply for these children and their families.
Following Jesus isn't easy, Christianity isn't for the weak of heart. It demands courage to stand for what we believe in this world. The gospel this Sunday speaks of faith, as well as acknowledging our doubt. It ends with the reassurance that God will be with us always, even until the end of time.
What consolation I find in that one line of scripture. No matter where life takes us, God is there with us. I can imagine God being thrilled in our moments of great faith, supporting us in our doubt and loving us through it all.
When I look at our little ones this weekend, I wonder what life holds in store for them. I wonder how they will grow in the society we live in. What kind of people will they be? How will they care for the people in their lives? How will they share their faith? What difference will they make in their world?
Let us pray together for our first communicants and for their families. May they grow to be strong members of our St Francis de Sales church community. May they always know that God is truly with them no matter where life leads them.