It’s that time of year once again for First Communions. This must be one of Jesus’ favorite seasons.
Little second-graders, some dressed in fancy clothes, others not, are lining up all over the world to receive the body of Christ for the first time. They’re fun to watch, as each one approaches the Eucharist for the first time. Some are solemn and stiff, others are nervous and silly, and the rest are simply kids. Before communion, they all stand up and dutifully pledge themselves to the Creed. They reject Satan and all his empty promises, they profess their belief in Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God. And so on. And then they take their turn to taste the consecrated body and blood of Christ for the very first time.
As I was watching a small batch of them at Saturday evening Mass, I had a thought and a vision. Imagine how Christ must be feeling right now. Jesus has always had a soft spot for children. He loved having them around and often tut-tutted the apostles for trying to keep the children away. And here we have a whole crew of them, all approaching Jesus in a new way, all coming to Jesus in the unique way that he taught the apostles, a way that he said was vital to our eternal life.
In my vision Jesus was sitting at the altar as the first communicants approached. It wasn’t a solemn occasion. In fact, Jesus couldn’t suppress his own laughter and shouts of joy as smiling student after smiling student joined him at his table. He sat right in the midst of them, talking to them, smiling at them, and passing out hugs and high fives, and talking about whatever’s on the mind of second graders. And welcoming them into his kingdom. Yes, I imagine Jesus loves First Communion.