Today All Are One Roman Catholic church celebrated our first-ever, First Communion! With the challenge of Pentecost–being filled with Jesus’ Spirit, it seemed appropriate to also be accepting one of our members into fuller participation with us. Being a smaller parish, we were able to individualize this special day for one young man. It was a joy to celebrate with you Liam! Below, find today’s homily–Pastor Kathy
Today friends, is a very special day! Our Church remembers it as Pentecost—“pente” from the Greek meaning, “fiftieth.” Now, I think we can be quite sure that the “coming of the Spirit” didn’t happen exactly fifty days after Easter and when it comes right down to it, whether it was five or fifty days, is not as important as the fact that Jesus did, indeed send his Spirit, a person, a force, his life-blood—to be with those first apostles and disciples and ultimately, us, in a special way, in his physical absence, so that he could indeed say, “I will not leave you alone!”
Today is also special because of the fact that our friend, Liam Darst will receive his first communion in the presence of his family and friends and by doing so, become ever more a part of this community. Liam has prepared for a long time to be ready for today and we are all so happy that this day has finally come!
He and I have been preparing for at least 17 weeks as there are 17 chapters in the book of preparation and it has been even longer as several weeks we had to cancel because of snow storms!–we all remember those days, not so long ago when we could barely find our front doors amid the snow piles!
But alas, spring has come, we are on the cusp of summer and new and abundant life seems to be all around! Pentecost is really all about new life, beginning back there 50 days ago with Easter and the new life of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Pentecost represents the new life that is possible in each of us through our connection to our brother, Jesus, first in our baptisms and then through our more adult response in our own confirmations, our own reception, or coming of the Spirit into our lives.
The reading today from Acts says that those in the room “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak as the Spirit enabled them.” Those of us here who have experienced our own “coming of the Spirit” into our lives have that same power of that first Pentecost which the Spirit gives, to enable us to be our best selves—to speak, to act, to do that which is needed in our world, even when we might have to stand alone to get it done.
We marvel at what we hear in the Scriptures today about what that first Pentecost was like—what these first “receivers” of the Spirit were able to do, but we, my friends, have that same power to do good, if we but choose to use it!
Liam and I spent time talking about what it would be like to receive Jesus in a special way in communion and how this “receiving” would help him to live a better life. We talked about how God, in Jesus is, with us in a special way, always, living in us, through our parents, our sisters and brothers, our friends and then, in holy communion, in a special way.
We talked about it, trying to understand “how” this can be that Jesus is present to us in this special way, when the bread, we are told, “is his body” and the wine or grape juice, we are told, “is his blood,” yet it still tastes like bread and wine or juice. So, he thought about it for a while and being inspired by the Spirit, said, “It’s a miracle!” And Liam, indeed, it is! Where Jesus and his Spirit are concerned, speaking of “miracles” is always the truth!
In the first reading from Acts today; we learned that there were many different nationalities present in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost, speaking in many different languages and each one understood what the apostles had to say about their friend, Jesus, in their own tongue!
Liam and I spent time talking about as he grows and matures; he will understand even more fully how much God loves him—loves us all, and that is why we receive communion when we come to Mass, when we are ready, to have that sense that Jesus is always with us, helping us to be our best selves.
And one day, you Liam, will be old enough to take that next step—to be confirmed in your faith as so many here have already done. But for now, your first holy communion is enough!
In the reading from Corinthians today, we hear that the Spirit of God gives each one a special gift that we are intended to use for the good of all—the gifts of the Spirit are never intended just for us.
We have probably all been aware of times in our lives when we “spoke” words either orally or in written form for the “good of all” that were profound and we wondered, “where did that come from?” It was the Spirit, my friends, speaking, writing, teaching through us for the good of all.
So Liam that is what you have to look forward to from this day onward, first through your first reception of communion today and later, as you grow, through Jesus’ Spirit.
And in conclusion, I say to you and to each of us, God’s love through Jesus is always there for us, especially through his Spirit. Remember Liam, we talked about a way to understand “spirit” is to think about all that makes up who each of us is—all that makes us unique. There is no one like you Liam, in this entire world, and who you are is what our God wants you to share with this world, in whatever ways you choose to do that. The same is true for all of us! And Jesus gives us our “marching” words, so to speak in today’s gospel, “Peace be with you!”—and in case, we didn’t get it the first time, Jesus says it again, “Peace be with you!”
Liam, my friend, and to each of us today, we will always know if we are doing the right thing if the overall feeling we are experiencing is, peace. Blessings on you especially today, Liam and on all of us! Amen? Amen!