First of all, I want to encourage all of you to attend one of the information sessions being given after each of the Masses this weekend. You can find out what is being done – and what is NOT being done – as we move forward to investigate the potential and possibility of developing our campus for a mixed-use development. Nothing has been decided so far except to explore this possibility. We have a broker to assist us, and we are gathering information (such as an accurate survey of our campus, a title search of our pieces of property, etc.). This will be a LONG process. It will help if you understand both what is being done, and have patience with the drawn-out nature of this process. So go to one of the presentations this weekend!
Just a couple of weeks ago we had a very successful First Communion celebration. About 50 of our young parishioners made their First Holy Communion. Not only did they look absolutely adorable, but more importantly, they were well prepared and without exception received Holy Communion reverently and correctly. Since our second graders did such a beautiful job of receiving Holy Communion, I think it would be well for all of us to examine our practice of receiving Holy Communion. They are a model for us.
When you come forward, place your right hand under your left (the opposite if you are left handed) and receive the Host in the palm of your hand. St Cyril of Jerusalem, way back in the third century, told his new Christians to “make a throne of your hands for the Lord.” Respond “Amen”, pick up the host, and communicate yourself. As an older person with a bad back I ask you to hold your hands up level with your chest, so that I do not have to bend over so much. THANKS.
You may, of course, also receive Holy Communion on the tongue. In this case please OPEN your mouth and STICK OUT your tongue. This makes it much easier for the Communion minister, and more importantly, reduces the chance of getting your salvia on the minister’s hand and then communicating that to the next person.I also urge you to open your eyes and look at the person ministering to you the Host and the Chalice. I believe that this human interaction is an important part of the interpersonal communion upon which the Sacrament of Holy Communion is based. By receiving the Body of Christ we become a part of the Body of Christ, and recognizing that in each other is a significant part of the human reality on which this Sacrament is based. When someone comes up to me to receive Holy Communion and immediately shuts their eyes I always have the impression that they think Holy Communion, while good for them, is somehow going to taste awful and terrible, like some awful cough syrup. The Ministers of Holy Communion cannot be replaced by robots or machines distributing the Body and Blood of Jesus, because the human interaction is an integral part of the experience of communing. Grace, in good Thomistic teaching, builds on nature. So try looking, really looking, at the person who is giving you the Body or the Blood of Christ. That person is not a distraction, but part of the sacrament of the Body of Christ in which you are sharing.