When Saint Pope Pius X lowered the age of those able to receive Holy Communion, he remarked that as long as they can distinguish the Eucharist from ordinary bread, they should be allowed to receive. One of the great joys a pastor is given is to give the young children in the parish their first Communion. I usually get different types of bread and ask the children what the items can be used for. I take hamburger rolls, hot dog rolls, bagels and sliced bread and ask the children how each can be used. Without fail, the children come up with the usual litany of how the items can be properly used. We put a hamburger in between the hamburger bun; we put a hot dog (or chourico dog in our case) in the hot dog roll; we put peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese in between the two slices of sliced bread and of course, we lather copious amounts of cream cheese on the bagel. After the children have identified how each can be used, I take a few unconsecrated hosts and hold them up. The children, on queue, always get excited and raise their hands because they want to shout out that the unconsecrated hosts are “JESUS.” Of course, I need to correct them and tell them no that are just ordinary hosts and have not yet been consecrated. After this discourse, I then turn my attention to the parents and thank them for making such a big deal of First Communion. I then issue a challenge: it is wonderful that they are making such a big deal about the very first time that their children are receiving Our Eucharistic Lord and remind them that they are challenged to approach Second Holy Communion and Third Holy Communion and Fourth Holy Communion (ok, you get the picture) with the same zeal and excitement.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we celebrate the fact that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ actually comes to dwell inside of us. This immense Gift is a powerful remedy to change us; to heal us; to refashion us so that we can better reflect the image of Jesus who dwelt among us and whose Spirit remains in the Church. As we come forward toward and exclaim “AMEN” might we radiate the image of the Divinity that resides in us. May this great gift so satisfy our hungry hearts for the love that the Lord has to give so that, having been so satisfied, we can in turn, feed those in need by our words and deeds.