Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

A Reflection for First Communion Weekend

   A wholesome habit that we learn as we grow up is that of washing our hands before we eat a meal. A nourishing meal that we share with others is designed to strengthen and support us for play and for work. If we don’t properly cleanse our hands before we eat, the very act of eating can be an occasion for contracting a disease that can weaken and hurt us.

   Let’s apply this observation to our receiving Holy Communion. Christ left us the Eucharist to strengthen and support us on our journey through this world. As a result of receiving Holy Communion, hopefully we will grow closer to the Lord and to others in His Name.

   Even as we wash our hands before eating a sumptuous meal, it is essential that we wash our hands spiritually if we are to receive the Eucharist in a manner that helps and supports us on our spiritual journeys through this world.

   A flu-like spiritual disease that can easily infect any of us is that of accepting the Lord on our terms rather than on His terms as He makes His Way of living clear to us in the life and teachings of the Church. Let’s look at how this disease can come to expression in us. Through the Church, the Lord directs us to keep holy His day by coming to Mass each weekend and by participating at Mass on special Holy Days. Going to Communion without the intention of coming to Mass weekly and on Holy Days can hurt us spiritually. If we go to Mass on an occasional basis, we are accepting the Lord on our terms rather than on His, to our hurt and that of others.

   We also come to the Lord’s Table with unclean spiritual hands if we persist in harboring uncharitable thoughts towards others, especially toward persons who have hurt or wronged us. Perhaps, we have hurt others in some serious way. Coming to Communion in the spirit of being at odds with others through harboring an unforgiving spirit or by hanging on to an unrepentant attitude when we have wronged others in a big way can hurt us spiritually.

   Accepting the Lord on our terms rather than on His comes to expression in our persisting to relate to the gift of our sexuality in ways that are not in accord with the purposes for which the Lord has designed this gift. Only with the Lord’s help can we relate to our sexuality in a manner that benefits ourselves and others. We receive Holy Communion to our benefit and that of others as we continue to ask for the Lord’s help in this vital area of our lives.  

   One of the most powerful and effective ways of washing our hands spiritually before receiving Holy Communion is by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular, frequent basis. By doing this, we are expressing that we want to accept the Lord on His terms rather than our own. Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently is especially important if we’ve gotten into bad spiritual or relational habits. Even as bad habits develop over a period of time, eliminating these from our lives oftentimes does not happen over night. Let’s not get discouraged if from time to time we fall in regard to habitual sins. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a unique way, we are offered more and more strength to accept the Lord on His terms rather than our own.

   In our determination, with the Lord’s Help, to accept Him on His terms, our frequent reception of the Eucharist will empower us to produce with one another an abundant harvest of acts of charity that will benefit others and strengthen the bond of love that He offers us as His gift.


Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Nelson Beaver –Pastor


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