It was even more delightful than I had anticipated. First Holy Communion last Saturday, followed closely by our May Procession and Crowning of Our Lady, made for a weekend that reminds me why I am a priest.
To offer Our Lord to all those children was a true pleasure and privilege; they were obviously so aware, thanks to their parents and catechists, of Him whom they were receiving. To see the church so crowded is always a boost, as well; that all the people present be invigorated in their faith and devotion to our Eucharistic Lord is my goal and prayer.
After the Mass, I spent the day moving from party to party, as families marked the occasion with great festivity. It is humbling for me to be invited into people’s lives so completely, and so generously. Not only that, but when Saint Bernadette folks have a party, it is invariably great fun.
And since we draw such energy from bringing Christ’s body into the lives of our young people, it is only fitting that we recognize her who gave Him that flesh and blood, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the first tabernacle of the Lord who dwells among us, and by her gracious acceptance of God’s will, what we receive in Him came through her. It is only fitting that we crown her not only with flowers but also with our affection and love. Let me ask you not to neglect to bring flowers to our Mary altar all month, any more than you would want to neglect your own mom on Mother’s Day.
Reflecting on Mary makes it even more obvious what our own mothers have done for us, and continue to do, especially in their prayer for us. So let me wish all the moms of our parish a blessed Mother’s Day!
Our faith is a faith of real people, and real experiences, touched and changed by the presence and participation of God Himself. Jesus is the Son of God, but also and no less the Son of Mary. He reveals Himself gently, not overwhelmingly, that we might choose to respond by accepting Him. As the young Virgin responded to the astonishing proposal brought by the angel with her humble, “be it done unto me according to your word,” so do we all have the opportunity to say, “so be it.”
Those beautiful children said their “so be it” (“Amen”) to the God who desires to dwell in them, to make them members of His body. They answered in one or two cases self-consciously, in another few nervously, but in not one case half-heartedly, and accepted the awesome gift and responsibility of carrying Christ in their flesh.
You all know I am no angel, but when I pause at that instant after I have said to you, “The Body of Christ,” I look and listen for your response, not only the syllables of “Amen,” but the intention to accept what at God’s command I offer – a participation in the life of His Son. As did the angel when His Holy Mother consented to bring Him into the world that first time, so do I rejoice when I receive your consent to bear him into the world today. Each time I detect that, I am reminded why I am a priest.