Every parent has rites of passage that they are excited to see their child go through: their first steps, their first day of school, her first goal in soccer, his first home run. I cannot wait for my child's first Reconciliation and Holy Communion. The little suits, the nervous practicing of his prayers or readings, that proud look on his face after he received for the first time like an adult, making him feel like a true member of the Church.
Reconciliation is next on the list of sacraments, but Communion is the next sacrament of initiation a member of the Catholic Church receives after Baptism. The Catholic community celebrates the Lord's Supper every Sunday with the Eucharistic celebration that involves the consecration and consumption of bread and wine that has been transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Like a meal we share at home with our family, we are called to celebrate, remember, and eat as a family each Sunday at the Mass. We break the bread and share the cup, not only in remembrance, but in an honest celebration with our community! That is what makes the Eucharist another sacrament of initiation; it is an essential part of our Catholic community! When our newest members get to receive Communion for the first time, the excitement is not just in receiving Jesus for the first time (although that is the most important part!). It is also in the fact that they are now one step closer to being a full member of this community they have either been raised in or have chosen to join.
1 Corinthians, chapter 11 contains a section of instructions on the institution of the Eucharist for the community of Corinth. Take a moment today to read over 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 and reflect on what Paul is trying to teach. Are you attending this "meeting" with the right mindset? Examining yourself and consuming with true belief? Are you participating as a true believer and member of the Catholic community? And are you teaching and modeling these practices to those around you, so that my son and other future members of the Church will know how to follow Paul's instructions based off of our own behaviors! Try to make this Sunday more than a walk in line for a piece of bread, but a real celebration of Jesus' sacrifice and your membership in this community of believers!