Congratulations to the children who will receive the Lord for the first time in the Holy Eucharist. Thank you to the parents for fulfilling the promises you made when your children were baptized—to bring them up in the Catholic Faith. Thank you to the Catechists who have partnered with the parents to guide these children.
Today is a milestone in your life. Most of you are third graders and the talk on the street is that third graders know everything. You have benefits at your fingertips that your grandparents never even imagined. A world of information is in your cellphone, your iPad, your computer. Space travel is already a reality. In a few years science hopes to find cures for most of the diseases that infect us. Living to be 100 years old will be considered the norm, not the exception. Children, when you grow up you will see things beyond your wildest dreams. Because the human mind continues to evolve. We are made in God’s image and likeness. Our soul is part of God and will never experience death. There’s that ugly word—death. Unfortunately, death is part of life. Perhaps your parents have spoken to you about death. Or you have attended a funeral of a relative. We will all have to die. Some folks worry a lot about dying, especially old people—because they are at the “jumping off place”. The disciples were worried about the death of Jesus. They were worried about what was going to happen to them. Jesus told them, “Don’t worry.” Nothing good comes from worrying. We get tight inside. We can even make ourselves sick. That’s why some folks say, “I’m worried sick.” That’s no good. Jesus told His disciples—"trust me.” “You have faith—have faith in me.” “I’m always going to take care of you. I have a special place for each of you in my Father’s great big house.” Must be big to fit all of humanity.
Red and yellow, black and white, we are all precious in His sight. We call the great big house—heaven. Which way is heaven? (Point) Have any of you ever been to heaven? There is no GPS to guide us to heaven. But we have the Church. The Church is our mother. A mother wants only good for Her children. Through the Sacraments our Mother Church shows us the way to heaven. Jesus Christ is at the center of each Sacrament. The Eucharist is the real presence of Christ. That’s why the priest, deacon or minister says, “The Body of Christ.” Doesn’t mean we are hoping that it becomes if we believe, or is only symbolic or that maybe the host will change. Means just what we hear: The Body of Christ. And we say, “Amen”.
The Eucharist is the way, the truth and the life. We do not have to look anywhere else for answers. Miracles of apparitions, healing waters, blood of martyrs that keeps regenerating can never match the one and only true miracle that happens at the Table of the Lord. At every Holy Mass a miracle happens: Bread and wine change into the Body and Blood of Christ through the gift of priesthood. These are the “works” that Jesus is talking about when He tells His disciples, “You will do greater works than these.” The Sacraments are all the works that we need because they are the road map to heaven, particularly the Eucharist. There is no better medicine, more perfect prayer, more intimate communication with God than Holy Communion. Don’t play the worthy/unworthy game. We are never going to win. Truth is that we can never be worthy. “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” That confession has withstood the test of time. True when first spoken, true now, even when the Pope speaks it. This is holy ground. Our holy of holies. God manifest Himself to us in a meal—a banquet. We are a refuge for sinners. If we have sinned, then we are at the right place.
Consider that each Holy Communion brings us closer to the Heavenly Banquet. One day we will all be seated at the party that will never end.