“One of these days I am going to die. But it won’t be today!”

Sixth Sunday of Easter May 1, 2016.
(a reflection from Fr. John Curran, OFM Conv. - Fr. John is living currently in El Paso, Texas, and is an Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish.)

Fr. John Curran, OFM Conv.
Fr. John Curran, OFM Conv.

On May 8, 1948 St. Anthony Church in Louisville, Kentucky, was filled with hundreds of people. It was First Holy Communion Day for 60 second-graders. The girls walked in procession, followed by the boys. The girls wore pretty white dresses and veils, white gloves, white socks, and white shoes. The boys wore white shirts with white ties, white trousers and white shoes and socks. Each child carried a prayer book and a rosary, white for the girls and black for the boys. Printed in gold letters on the front cover of the prayer book were the words, “WELCOME JESUS.” That day was the beginning of my amazing friendship with Jesus.

Jesus is my amazing friend. One day Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Mt 16, 13-20. Who is Jesus for you? One day I was wearing a crucifix around my neck as I passed through the check-out counter at K-Mart. The check-out lady said, “That cross is beautiful!” I responded, “That is Jesus on the Cross.” She said, “Oh, yes. He was a great man!” The amazing truth about Jesus is that he is both man and God.

Isleta del Sur at Mt. Carmel Parish in El Paso, TX
Isleta del Sur at Mt. Carmel Parish in El Paso, TX

He is really human, and he is really divine. Try to picture the man Jesus in various real-life situations. The little baby in the stable in Bethlehem. Jesus as a boy in Joseph’s carpenter shop. Jesus sitting among the teachers in the Temple when he was 12. Jesus walking away as a crowd of people tried to throw him off a cliff at Nazareth. Jesus kicking up his heels in a line-dance at the wedding feast of Cana. Jesus laughing as he helped Peter pull in the net filled with fish. Jesus standing before Pilate. Jesus suffering and dying on the Cross.

Try to picture Jesus, when he showed his divine power. Jesus calming the storm. Jesus driving out demons. Jesus multiplying the bread and the fish. Jesus healing the blind and the crippled. Jesus raising the dead.

The Presence of Jesus in our hearts is a three-in-one gift. “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Jn 14, 23.

In today’s Gospel (Jn 14, 23-29) Jesus mentions his Father five times, and he promises to send us the Holy Spirit to teach us everything. v. 26. First the Holy Spirit teaches us to love in the way that Jesus loves us. He teaches husbands and wives to love each other. He teaches parents what they need to know. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit teach me EVERYTHING (including Spanish, French, Micro-soft Word, the piano, the guitar, etc.).

children accepting the first Holy CommunionEverything that Jesus taught his disciples is true. His main theme is “life.” “I have come that you may have life in abundance.” Jn 10, 10. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jn 14, 6. “Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will never die.” Jn 6, 54. “I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me.” Jn 6, 57.

God really is real! As I awake from sleep each morning, I feel Jesus present inside me. I say to myself and to Jesus, “One of these days I am going to die. But it won’t be today!” (Jn 10, 10).

First Holy Communion Day in our parish is a happy day for me. It reminds me of my own journey through life, with my amazing friend Jesus at my side.