Homily for First Communion 

Dear Children, God loves you.  He loves you this much (my arms extended as widely as possible).  He loves you that much (point to the crucifix).  He loves you this much (point to the Paschal Candle beside me); he wants to be the light of your life, that guides you through life.  And he loves you that much (point to the altar of sacrifice); just as your parents feed you so that you can be strong physically, God feeds you so that you can be strong spiritually.  At your Holy Communion, Jesus comes to you.  He wants your communion/relationship with him to be holy.  He wants your communion/relationship with everybody to be holy.

The most important things in life are faith, family, and friends.  All the money in the world can’t buy faith, family, and friends; these are gifts from God.  I want to speak about them in reverse order.

Friends.  Choose your friends wisely.  A good friend is someone who helps you to be good and to do good.  Friends divide our sorrows and double our joys.  We can play with friends, talk with friends, share things and activities with friends.  You want to have friends, yes?  Here is how to do that: “if you want to have a friend, be a friend.”

Family.  Thank God for your mother and father.  You would not be here without your parents’ cooperation with God.  God has created you, and your parents act as co-creators with God.   Just as you look physically like your parents (you may have your mommy’s smile, and your daddy’s nose), so too you are to look spiritually like God (you can be patient like Jesus, you can talk kindly like Jesus).  By the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus dwells within you.  Try your best to obey your parents always; nobody is perfect except Jesus and Mary.  When you disobey your parents, tell them you are sorry, and try your best to obey your parents. 

Jesus was an only child, but had lots of cousins.  Most of you have brothers and sisters, and all of you have cousins.  Sometimes your brothers and sisters and you fight, yes?  I have lots of brothers and sisters, and when we were children, we fought.  My parents used to say: “Children, stop fighting.  When you grow up, your brothers and sisters will be your best friends.”  Children, today, my brothers and sisters are my best friends.  Learn how to share things, e.g., video games, clothing, dessert, and money.   When you grow up your brothers and sisters will be your best friends. 

Faith.  Sometimes you will have arguments in your family.  People become upset.  People say things in anger that they regret having said.  At times, we might not feel loved or understood even by our family members.  God, however, always loves us, understands us, and forgives us.  Develop a relationship with God by talking to God every day.   When you wake up, kneel at your bedside and thank God for your life, your family, and friends.  When you go to bed, do the same thing.  Before every meal at home, school, or a restaurant, bless yourself and thank God for your food.  When a siren blows, pray that God will protect the people in need, and protect the police, fire, or medical people who are rushing to help people in need.  Regarding Sunday Mass, please tell your parents that you want to be at Mass every Sunday.  That is God’s rule.  If you need more sleep, go to bed earlier on Saturday night.  If your team plays sports on Sunday morning, tell your coaches that you have to go to church every Sunday morning.  Parents and children, the saying goes, “If you are too busy for God, you are too busy.”   Make God your first priority, and you will become best friends with God.  St. John writes this morning: “Whoever keeps God’s word, the love of God is truly perfected in him/her.”

First Communion children, congratulations, may God continue to bless you and your family and friends.  By this sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus, may you become a blessing for your family, and become a best friend with God. 

Read other homilies by Father O'Malley