As we celebrate the First Communions of our precious children, may their unadulterated joy to welcome Jesus into their hearts touch our hearts. We may even be jealous of the unquestioning trust of our children in the Lord. Maybe our faith has become too much up in our heads and our hearts are left out of the picture. Jesus reminds us that if we do not become like little children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Let our prayer always be: Jesus, I trust in you.
For this weekend message, I have taken off my bookshelf, Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Speaks to Children on their First Holy Communion. On Sunday, October 15, 2005, Pope Benedict sat down with a small group of kids who had just received their First Holy Communion. The children had some questions for the Pope. I love it when children come with questions, for the kids always keep us adults on our toes, even Popes.
Andrea asked Pope Benedict if he had any memories of his First Holy Communion. Pope Benedict responded, “It was a lovely Sunday in March 1936, sixty-nine years ago. It was a sunny day; the church looked very beautiful; there was music…At the heart of my joyful and beautiful memories is this one…I understood that Jesus had entered my heart; he had actually visited me. And with Jesus, God was with me. And I realized that this is a gift of love that is truly worth more than all the other things that life can give.”
Another Andrea wondered how one can see Jesus in the Eucharist. She admitted, “I can’t see him!”
Pope Benedict: “No, we cannot see him, but there are many things that we do not see but they exist and are essential…We don’t see an electric current, for example, yet we see that it exists; we see this microphone, that it is working, and we see lights. Therefore, even if we do not see the very deepest things, those that really sustain life and the world, we can still see and feel their effects. This is also true for electricity; we do not see the electric current but we see the light. So it is with the Risen Lord: we do not see him with our eyes but we see that wherever Jesus is, people change, they improve…”
Giulia asked about the importance of Sunday Mass and if it would be good to ask her parents to take her to Church.
Pope Benedict very gently responded: “I would think so, of course, with great love and great respect for your parents, because they certainly have a lot to do. However, with a daughter’s respect and love, you could say to them, Dear Mommy, dear Daddy, it is so important for us all, even for you, to meet Jesus. Meeting Jesus enriches us. It is an important part of our lives. Let’s find a little time together; we can find a way.”
Finally, Alessandro asked, “What good does it do in our everyday life to go to Holy Mass and receive Communion?”
Pope Benedict: “It centers life. We live amid so many things. And the people who do not go to church do not know that it is precisely Jesus they lack. But they feel that something is missing in their lives. If God is absent from my life, if Jesus is absent from my life, then a guide, an essential friend is missing; a great joy is missing from my life as well, the strength to grow as a person, to overcome my vices and to mature as a human being.”
May Jesus hold our precious children, their families, and all of us close to His Precious Heart!
Father Bill +