Every year I have the privilege of watching the young children of our parish family receive the Body of Jesus for the very first time. I stand in the back of church in awe and feel the goosebumps on my arms. This is the culmination of their preparation and the beginning of their deeper relationship with the Lord in their faith journey. Oh, what a feeling! That feeling is the same feeling I had so many years ago when I received my First Communion.
This second sacrament of initiation is “the” most intimate ritual in our faith. Several years ago, a friend described it this way: “When I receive Jesus, I can feel a beautiful white light move through my body. I know that Jesus lives in me.” Wow! The amazing part is that Jesus continues to live in us all the time. The more we receive, the closer we bring Jesus into our lives in a more warm, familiar level.
Receiving Him more often is the key to becoming more like Him, to following His way, and to living with Him forever! This is no easy task, especially in our world today. Jesus asks us for only two things: love God and love one another. Seems like a simple request. Yet it is difficult to find love for some people: from those who commit heinous crimes on innocent victims to those who have deeply hurt us by words or actions of hatred, vindictiveness, or indifference.
To be like Jesus we need to be one with Jesus. It is not always easy to love EVERYONE. But every day, every week, Jesus invites us to come to the table and share His Body/bread and Blood/wine. He is telling us to make Him a part of our body and life and the more often we do this, the more we become like Him. It is not always easy to drink of the chalice. Even Jesus asked the Father to let this cup pass over Him. But – because He loves us, He accepted His cup of suffering to free us from sins and to be able live with Him in the kingdom of God forever.
Will you accept the cup? Will you come to the table at least once a week? Will you receive Jesus into your heart like you did that very first time?