Guided by the Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Parish is a Eucharistic community that seeks to live the Word of God, instill the legacy of faith, and proclaim the love of Christ through service to all.

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April 26th, 2015

“I Am the Good Shepherd; I Lay Down My Life.”

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
          Today and again next Sunday approximately 140 children are making their First Holy Communion. Along with the day of their baptism (which they don’t remember) and the day of their confirmation (which they haven’t received yet) today should be the happiest day of their lives. This is the day when for the first time they eat the bread of life and drink the cup of salvation. Jesus himself said: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn. 6: 53). Now Jesus was either the world's greatest liar or he is the Savior—there is no in-between, no two ways about it. If he is a liar then we can save ourselves without eating the Eucharist. If he is the Savior then he saves us precisely by eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Receiving their First Holy Communion our children profess in their simple way that Jesus is not a liar, that he has not lied to them, that he alone has the words of everlasting life (Jn. 6:69).  
          In the Gospel of John why did Jesus’ disciples say his teaching was too hard? Except for the Twelve why did they all turn their backs on him, deserting him when he proclaimed these words? If Jesus’ teaching is that the Eucharist is merely symbolic, why was it “too hard?” If it was merely symbolic why did they turn away? If Jesus did not mean it when he taught that unless one eats his body and drinks his blood there is no life within, then why did he teach it in the first place? No, Jesus did not give us a mere symbol of his love nor an ancient Middle Eastern custom of making a unity soup. Jesus is not a liar. He is not a conman. He alone is the Savior who saves by sacrificing his body and blood and feeding us with them that we might have life and have it to the full (see Jn. 10:10).  
          I remember well my own First Holy Communion. I made it on May 5, 1963 when I was six years old. I remember being nervous that morning as my dad drove my family and me church. I don’t remember much about the Mass itself—it was still in Latin. I remember kneeling down to receive the sacred Host that day and thinking that I had never tasted a sweeter food; I remember at the moment of receiving the host on my tongue that my heart was filled with an inexpressible joy. (The host actually stuck to the roof of my mouth and I panicked momentarily thinking I would not be able to consume it without touching it, something forbidden to do in 1963.) Jesus has a way of making himself at home in us. I have felt him to be at home in me ever since, although at times, like any petulant child and as a sinner I have closed off some of my rooms to him with the sign: “Stay Out.”
          Congratulations, children, on your First Holy Communion. Congratulations, too, moms, dads, grandparents, godparents, families. I pray you always welcome Jesus into your hearts and lives, that he be ever at home in you for eating his body and drinking his blood; that you have life and have it to the full.  
          Happy Easter!

                                                                                                                Father Ed

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Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Parish
18000 E. Arapahoe Rd. Foxfield, CO 80016                                                     Church Office