Thought of the week
I often think that it’s a pity we speak about FIRST Communion. The preparation we provide in our churches is for ‘Holy Communion’, not as a one-off, but as a lifetime experience. It’s about a relationship with Jesus Christ whom we encounter in the Eucharist.
As on the first day of a baptism and on the first day of a marriage, it is natural to celebrate the first day when a child is admitted to the reception of Holy Communion at Sunday Mass. What is really sad is when First Communion is ‘last’ Communion.
A big question we priests and catechists are asking ourselves is: should the preparation be aimed more at the parents than at the children? If parents don’t understand or believe in the sacramental presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it will be very difficult for the children to do so. On the day of the child’s baptism, the priest prays that the parents will be ‘the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith’. Teaching them to pray, to follow the Mass and to love Holy Communion is not the principle responsibility of the priest or catechists, but of the parents. That’s the reason many children lose interest.
Fidelity in giving priority to Sunday Mass over leisure activities is a basic Catholic commitment. As Jesus says in today’s gospel, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” And a principle commandment is to worship God each Sunday.
Neglecting to do this is a sin as it damages our spiritual health. As Jesus also says, “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, we shall come to him.”