Third Sunday of Easter
May 5, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40B-41 / Ps 30 / Rev 5:11-14 / Jn 21:1-19
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon
How many of you can remember your First Communion? Now I want you to think about how you felt the first time you received. Now think how you felt the last time you received. It was probably a little more exciting the first time.
Today, at the next Mass, a group of children will receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time. So I started thinking that I get a much better view of this event than you because I get to stand up here, and I get to see their nerves, but I also see their excitement. So I wonder, how can we maintain that excitement? I thought that maybe we need to review it just a little bit.
Holy Communion, the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist – we have different terms that we use for this, the second part of the liturgy. The first part is the Liturgy of the Word which ends with the Prayers of the Faithful, and after that comes the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We don’t extinguish the Pascal Candle, but during Ordinary Time there’s a candle sitting up here, and we put that out as a signal that the Liturgy of the Word is done, and now it is time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As I reflect on the names that we use for this, it helps to actually remember what the two most common terms mean.
The first term that we use is Communion. The word communion has its origins in Latin, communio, which means “a sharing.” How often do we think of Communion as a sharing? What are we sharing? We are sharing lots of different things.
We all share in the ministry of Christ, Priest, Prophet, and King. And we come together and we share His body and blood. We also share other things. We share a common identity. We are all sons and daughters of God, and we share in the inheritance due to us as sons and daughters of God. That inheritance is eternal life with God. But we should also be sharing other things – our resources, others’ distress, and others’ concerns. If we have that in mind as we come down the aisle, it can help recapture some of that initial mystery.
The second most common term that we use is Eucharist. The word eucharist comes from the Greek eucharistia which means “thanksgiving.” After all, every Mass is a celebration. Every Mass is an Easter. Every Mass is a time to rejoice – a time to rejoice in the fact that when we mess up, God will forgive us, a time to rejoice that God is sharing His infinite grace with us through the sacraments, and a time to celebrate that no matter what our struggles are in life, we know how it is all going to end. And it will be a glorious end.
Brothers and sisters, I want you to keep in mind that every time you come down the aisle and you receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you have the same opportunity that Saint Peter received in the gospel today. You have the opportunity to reaffirm, “Yes, Lord, I love you.” And you have the opportunity to re-commit, “Yes, Lord, I will love your sheep.”