Children, God loves you!

God loves you this much - with arms extended (at the pulpit, and then refer to the crucifix). God would do anything for you. As a matter of fact, God did everything for you by sending his Son Jesus to teach and preach, and to die on the cross for you. God loves you, perfectly.

Children, your parents love you. Your parents would do anything in the world for you. Your parents would gladly sacrifice their lives for you. As a matter of fact, your parents already spend their lives for you. Children, I hope you thank your parents.

The difference between God's love and your parents' love for you is this. God and God's love are perfect. Children, your parents and your priests are not perfect. We all get upset at times, angry, tired, I suspect that sometimes your parents might lose their temper, and say in a loud voice:

"Mary, make your bed. MARY, make your bed."

Maybe your parents become impatient with you sometimes, and say very loudly:

"Joey, sit still; Joey, sit still; I said sit still."

Those words and our anger show our human limits.

God, however, loves everybody without limit.

Children, God and your parents love you in two special ways.

First, God created you in his image and likeness. Some aspect of God's personality is present in your personality/your soul. Your image/way of smiling, talking, helping shows God's image in some way. Sometimes we have to hard to see God's image in other people, but it is always there.

Your image/personality/way reveals God's image. God dwells within you spiritually.

Children, God needs your parents to help to create you. Your parents possess a profound vocation: to be co-creators with God in bringing human life into this world. God and your parents co-operate in giving you life through God's and your parents' mutual love. Children, you reflect not only God's traits, but also your parents' traits. People might say Charlie has his dad's sense of humor, or Kathy has her mother's sense of generosity. Children, you reflect the best aspects of God and your parents. Try your best to manifest God's traits and your parents' best traits.

The second way that God and your parents love you is by feeding you. At the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, blessed, broke, and gave it to his disciples saying, "This is my Body, which is given up for you. Then Jesus changed wine into his blood, saying, "This is my Blood, take and drink it." God feeds you with his divine food. The Eucharist is called also the bread of angels, bread from heaven, holy communion. By receiving Holy Communion today, you receive God's divine life within you. If you ever feel lonely, sad, tempted to say or do something bad; turn to God who lives within you. God feeds you, and makes you stronger by the help of his presence and power within you.

Children, your parents also feed you. Your parents prepare meals for you, and clean up after you. I hope you thank your parents. I hope you help your parents.

Parents, from the bottom of my heart and soul, I want to thank you. Parenting looks like fun, and no problem, until you have to do it 24-7, and you do it for the rest of your life! Parenting requires much self-sacrifice, time, trouble, work, and worry. I think nobody can appreciate what parenting requires until they become parents. I have the greatest respect and admiration for you. May God continue to bless you in all that you do.

Parents, may I make one request of you, please. Try your best to have your children at Mass every Sunday, or Saturday Vigil Mass. No doubt, you are very busy. Please make Sunday Mass a priority; it is more important than sports activities, or sleeping late on Sunday morning. If you cannot possibly get to Mass because of work or sickness, try to see if one of your child's friends might take your child to church.

Children, cooperate with your parents in getting ready for Mass, and continue going to Mass as you get older.

Why do we go to church every Sunday? For lots of reasons. May I identify two reasons:

  1. because God asks us to "keep holy the Sabbath day, which the Church applies to Sunday, the day on which Jesus resurrected. God asks us to give one hour of praise and thanksgiving each week. Multiply 24 hours by seven days, and we see what God is asking. Also today's gospel say, "Whoever keeps my commandments is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
     
  2. And because God is love. God is the source of love. Parents, you want to be most loving parents for your dear child. You hope and pray that your child will grow up to be a mature and loving person. Therefore, stay close to God who is love, and who is the source of love. Please, be at church every Sunday to hear God's word, to receive God's divine life in Holy Communion. Do this, please, for yourself and for your child.

Children, may your First Communion Day be a very happy and holy day. Stay close to God this day and everyday of your lives. Remember, God loves you - this much!

Read other homilies by Father O'Malley