I bet lots of people have brought cameras today, to take First Communion photos. After all, today is a very important day! People want to remember it, and photos help us to remember special events. They’re also a great way of remembering people.
Think of two people, who love each other, but who are forced to part. They would like to stay together forever, but they can’t. Maybe one of them has to go overseas. Or maybe one of them is dying. For whatever reason, they have to say goodbye. So they exchange gifts, or cards, or a photograph. These are symbols of love, which help us to remember. In fact, they help us to love.
The cross is a bit like that. We can look at this big crucifix in the sanctuary, and remember that Jesus loves us so much, that he died for us. He loves us so much, that “everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
But this cross is just a symbol. Photos are just symbols. It’s not the same as actually being with the person we love and miss. It doesn’t matter how much we love someone. It doesn’t matter how much we desire to be with them. Human power is not as great as human desire.
But God’s power is much greater. What we cannot do, our Lord is able to do. Jesus doesn’t just leave us a symbol; he leaves a reality. Jesus has ascended to the Father, but he also remains with us. He has left us, not simply a gift which will make us remember him, not just a photo which fades and yellows; he has left us himself. Under the appearance of bread and wine, he is with us — body and blood, soul and divinity.
Our First Communicants have been preparing all year for this day. But I know someone who has been waiting even longer. For 2,000 years, our Lord has been present in the Tabernacle, knowing that this day was coming! He loves our First Communicants so much. How pleased he is, that he’ll now be in communion with them.
Two thousand years! That’s a long time to wait, so I won’t preach any longer!