Monday, May 22, 2017


First Communion

The night before the recent First Communion of my youngest grandchild I paused to read and think about its place in our spiritual development.  I was impressed by a meditation or account entitled “Celebrate the Covenant” in the 2017 Easter Issue of The Word Among Us.  I suspect all my grandchildren are more advanced in their understanding of such matters than I was at their age.


Like you, I undoubtedly had heard about Abraham’s, Moses’, and Christ’s covenants. In my case, it started and never progressed to great understanding.  But I see the early covenants as foreshadowing the final covenant God established with his people through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Whether the early traditions are history or stories is not of great concern, they shape and tell the story of our relationship with God.  After his resurrection, Jesus even (Luke, 24) enlightened Cleopas and another disciple about how his life was fulfilling the words of the prophets.

Many times, Jesus made reference to his sacrificial role in the final covenant as well as his role in sustaining us (John , 6), for example – “I am the bread of life”, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”  He is the “Good Shepard” and the “Lamb of God”.


Christ made it clear for the apostles they were to consecrate bread and wine into his body and blood in commemoration of his sacrifice of his body and blood.  Many Christians view communion bread and wine as symbolic recognition of his command.  By coming together, they derive the benefit Jesus noted – “where two or more are gathered together in my name there am I also.”

Most devout Catholics recognize the “real presence” of Jesus in the consecrated or transubstantiated bread and wine of Holy Communion.  For them, it is a moment of special closeness to God.  Adoration chapels provide opportunities for related close moments of scripture reading, reflection, and inspiration in the presence of Jesus.

My December 27, 2014 post, [  ] “Konnersreuth”, tells some of the story of the stigmatic, Teresa Neumann, who subsisted for many years on a daily communion wafer.  Even after a careful week or more investigation where both believing and non-believing nurses monitored her activities and verified the claim, a doubting journalist denied the truth of her means of survival.


John 15 has the command of Jesus to his disciples “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”  Also, “This I command you: love one another.”

Joseph G. Engemann     Kalamazoo, Michigan     May 22, 2017

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