"While he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight."
This weekend would have been the first of three weekends that the girls and boys of our parish were to celebrate and receive their First Holy Communion. Among all the things that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted and postponed, it is especially painful for our faith community that First Communions, along with weddings and baptisms and funeral masses, have had to have been put off for another day.
The families preparing for these sacramental moments must feel a little like the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus in today's gospel. There they were with Jesus. He was walking and talking with them, catechizing them, teaching them. They finally come to that moment of celebration at table with the Lord, and then all of a sudden he is gone ("he vanished from their sight"). Yet still they go back to the apostles with joy and excitement ("Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way") that they had seen the Risen Lord!
The celebration of many of our sacraments have been delayed, but they have not vanished. Jesus walks and talks with us through this whole crisis as we find new ways to live our faith. Jesus walks and talks with us in our homes, in our hospitals, in our supermarkets, in our food pantries, in the work of first responders, healthcare workers, teachers. and everyday workers and volunteers who provide us with what we need. And some day soon we will celebrate those special moments you have been preparing for.
A SPECIAL WORD TO OUR FIRST COMMUNION BOYS AND GIRLS: You will receive Jesus in Holy Communion when it's OK for us to come back to Church together. You will celebrate AND WE WILL ALL CELEBRATE WITH YOU! Sometimes waiting for something a little longer makes it taste that much more delicious. I'm sorry you have to wait, but don't worry. We will celebrate with you. And you will recognize Jesus IN THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD!
May our hearts burn with Love for Jesus! And may we all some day soon see him in the breaking of the bread!