This Sunday we continue to celebrate our school children receiving their First Holy Communion. As Father Alo said last week that this was a great celebration, not merely for our children and their families, but for the parish community.
Receiving the sacrament of communion, as you would know, has multi-dimensional meaning. Firstly, receiving communion is entering into communion with the person of Jesus, the risen and living Christ, in the symbols of bread and wine. Through this communion with Jesus we are open to the communion with God, the Father, in the love of the Spirit poured out in our hearts.
But the mystery of this sacrament does not merely limit there. Once the person is in communion with God, he or she will be able to find their true self. In other words, they are in communion with their own person, understanding and loving one’s self as it is. Knowing how to love one’s self is the very base to know how to love others, to be in communion with others, as Jesus points out in this weekend Gospel.
If we truly know how to love, especially how to love ourselves, we would probably discover that loving is not about indulging, pleasing or overprotecting. Like when one is loving one’s self, it does not mean self-indulgence, narcissism or oversensitivity about one’s self. These thing would inevitably lead to self-destruction.
Loving someone or something is to be able to see the truth in them and accepting it. Loving myself is to be able to see my true self and accept it as it is. As C.S. Lewis said that we don’t always love ourselves because of mere beautiful and nice things about us; we love ourselves because it is who we are, our very selves. God loves us not because we are perfect or good enough. God loves us because who we are, God’s beloved image.
In turn, we love one another not because they are always nice to us (maybe at times but impossibly always!). We love our neighbour because who they are. We need to learn their true persons in order to love them truly. We need to see them as our fellow human beings who are also loved so much by God, in order to love them.
The commands of Jesus to love God, self and others in the Gospel this weekend are compactly expressed in the sacrament of communion that we receive so often but not often realising its fullness and beauty. The question is how we, as parents, grandparents, adults, role models in families, can help and guide our children who will start experiencing and exploring this sacrament to fall into the depth of this mystery of love and communion?
Fr Khoi msc
Ps. I will be on holidays from the 5th of November to the 5th of December. Will see you when I get back!