Again, congratulations to you boys and girls who are about to receive our Lord in Holy Communion for the first time in just a few minutes; I’m sure you’re really excited.  You girls look so pretty in your white dresses and you boys look very handsome, too!  What a special moment it is for you – and for all of us – as you receive the Body of Christ and become one with all of us who are the Body of Christ.  Congratulations and welcome!  

It is so fortunate for you to receive your First Holy Communion during Easter Season which celebrates the new life that God promises us through the death and Resurrection of his Son, Jesus.  As you know, Jesus offered the apostles their First Holy Communion at the Last Supper just before he died and rose to new life.  In today’s gospel, we hear Jesus assure his apostles while they were together for the Last Supper by telling them that “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”  We all believe in one God who is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We will profess our belief in this beautiful mystery in just a few minutes when we recite the creed together.  God is a Trinity of persons in a communion of knowledge and love with one another.  Today, we hear Jesus give his disciples – and us – a very important message about how we are all invited to be in communion with God: it’s by becoming one with his Son, Jesus, and loving God and one another as he has loved us.

One of the best ways we become one with Jesus is by receiving him in Holy Communion; that’s what some of you are about to do for the first time – it’s really a privilege, isn’t it!?!  And notice, when I give you communion, I will say, “The Body of Christ.”  I won’t say, “This is the Body of Christ” as if only the hosts that I have just consecrated become the Body of Christ, although that is certainly the case.  I say “The Body of Christ” because when you receive the Body of Christ you become the Body of Christ and you join with all of us gathered around our Lord’s Table who are the Body of Christ, that is, Jesus really present in our midst as we live in his love.

It is this good news that Philip went to tell the people in Samaria in today’s first reading.  And, you’ll notice that as he proclaimed Jesus to them, unclean spirits came out of people and those who were paralyzed or crippled were cured; this was a clear sign of God’s love being lavished upon them.  It is this good news that we hear in today’s second reading giving us a reason to live in hope – that is, the hope of the new life the risen Lord offers all of his faithful people.  What is that hope?  It is the hope of being welcomed into God’s eternal banquet in his heavenly kingdom.

While we await our entry into God’s kingdom, we live assured of God’s presence here and now in the sacraments and especially Holy Communion.  Whenever we receive our Lord in this sacred sacrament, we join with all of the saints who have gone before us – as well as those yet to come – along with all of the heavenly hosts in praising God through his Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.  That’s why it’s called Holy Communion!  So again, boys and girls, I congratulate you as you receive our Lord in Holy Communion for the first time today.  I look forward to your receiving him every week so that you, like all of us, will truly be the Body of Christ.