Fifth Sunday of Easter

Today is a very special day: today we have one among us who will make their first Holy Communion today.  Today for the first time, Jenna, will receive Jesus into her soul.  Holy Communion is a very special grace because in Holy Communion we receive God into our hearts.  God loves us so much that He wants to be with us always.  Love desires union.  When we love someone, we want to spend time with that person.  God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be with us all the time.  Of course God is present everywhere, He is never absent from us; unfortunately, we are not always present to Him.  God wants us to be aware of His presence and He wants us to think of Him often and love Him.  He wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.

When we receive Holy Communion, we are joined with Jesus in a very special way.  After we receive Him in Holy Communion, we should spend time in prayer with Him and thank Him for giving Himself to us.  After we have received Holy Communion it is good to tell Jesus whatever is on our heart.  It is good to talk to Jesus while He is in your soul.  We are never so close to God in this world as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He gives many gifts to our hearts.  When we receive the Eucharist grace is poured into our souls.  Grace is the very life of God.  When we say that God gives us grace, we mean that He shares His divine life with us.  When God gives us grace, He shares with us us His life, His love, His strength, and His joy.  We need to be open to receive all the gifts that God wants to give to us in Holy Communion.  The more open our hearts are to receive His graces, the more graces we will receive.  The best way to open our hearts is to make sure that there isn’t any sin in our hearts.  Sin clutters up our hearts and we need to clear sin out of our lives in order to make room for God.

It is also good to pay attention to what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion.  We should try to always be aware of what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion.  It is good to receive Communion with all the attention and devotion that we can.  That means that we should try to focus our attention on God as we come forward for Communion.  We should be aware that it is Almighty God Who is giving Himself to us in Communion.  We should also keep in mind that God gives us Himself for a reason: He loves us and He wants to be with us and He wants to make us more like Himself.  God is love and through giving Himself to us in the Eucharist, He wants to make us more loving.  Through the Holy Communion, God wants to give us all the spiritual help and strength that we need to follow Jesus.

In the Gospel today, we heard that Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment: “Love one another.”  We are all called to faithfully follow Jesus and we are all called to love others.  And how does Jesus call us to love others?  Jesus calls us to love others as He has loved them.  That is a pretty high standard which we are called to imitate.  Jesus always put other people first.  Jesus said that He came not to be served, but to serve.  Jesus laid down His life for those He loved.

In order to live the love that we are called to, we need the Sacraments.  The Sacraments are powerful ways that God gives His divine grace, His life, to our souls.  By ourselves Jesus says that we can do nothing, but with God’s help we can do everything.  Through the Eucharist, as I mentioned, God shares His life with us; He communicates Himself to our souls and more closely unites us with Himself.  If we regularly receive the Eucharist, with hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in our souls, we will grow in love.  Even if we don’t feel any different after receiving Holy Communion, we know that God is working on our hearts to make them more like the Heart of His Son.

Another Sacrament that is very important for us is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation for all the times that we fail to love others as Jesus calls us to love them.  If we receive those two Sacraments, Communion and Reconciliation, regularly with hearts that are open to all that God wants to give to us, then God will fill our hearts with His love and we will become channels of His grace and His love for others.

May God bless you, Jenna, as you receive Him today for the first time in Holy Communion.  May Jesus draw you and all of us ever closer to Himself every time that we receive Him in Holy Communion.  May God fill our hearts with His love and make us more like His Son.  Amen.

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