Today we see before us, two precious gifts for Jesus, beautifully wrapped in white garments, the white garments of the newly baptized, the white garments of the martyrs who have been “washed in the Blood of the Lamb.” They are about to receive their first Holy Communion: the Communion in which Baptism finds its fulfillment and the Communion which bears its perfect fruit in the sacrificial love of the martyrs. About these two it may be said: Isti sunt agni novelli, qui annuntiaverunt Alleluia: “These are the newborn lambs, who proclaim Alleluia!” To these also can the words of St. Augustine be applied:
“My little children in Christ, who are the new offspring of the Church, gift of the Father, proof of Mother Church’s fruitfulness. You who stand fast in the Lord are a holy seed, a new colony of bees, the very flower of our ministry, and fruit of our toil, our joy and our crown.” And if our hearts are filled with such joy by these precious lambs, what must be the joy in the Heart of the Savior?
My children, you come to Him to give yourselves, but He who is Love itself, shall not be outdone in generosity: He too shall give Himself to you in the very moment that you give yourselves to Him. You come as presents wrapped in white; He too comes as a present wrapped in white, hidden under the veil of fine, white wheat as you receive Him on your lips, yet He will be opened in your souls as a treasure of infinite love.
Dearly beloved in Christ, these two children come for the first time to the banquet of the Lord. Their hearts will be filled with love, although they have not yet tasted of the sweetness of the Lord. But we, who have tasted of this sweetness, this love, so many times: shall not our hearts be filled with greater love still? May the Lord grant each one here this grace: to receive Him with greater love now than ever before. And on the final day, when you have at last been given irrevocably to the Son, may He open your soul with joy in His heart and say to His Father, "O Father, this is the gift I have always wanted!"
-Excerpt from Father Sebastian Walshe's homily on Gifts, on the occasion of Gianna's first Holy Communion. Please email me if you would like to read the sermon in its entirety.