Today we have in the Church with us a child who is truly exceptionally. She is just a small child and young and yet she has had to endure great illness and great difficulty in her life, which would have carried off many of us who are much stronger. All these things she has overcome to grow into a healthy and strong child. As well as being a very beautiful child in the outside, she is a truly exceptional child in side: she is always joyful, always loving, always happy, always kind. She makes her parents and her sister ad family very happy and very proud. She has exceptional qualities of joy and love. When you look into her eyes you see a person without any sides to her.
Today marks a special day for her, that her parents at one stage thought that they would never see, her First Holy Communion day. She is not surrounded by other children but stands alone, which she does in every sense. But for her like any other child she also can come forward to receive Holy Communion, this great mystery which Christ shows he loves us.
Like all children who receive Holy Communion, God gives this sacrament to her to show how much he loves us, how much he is with her, now and always. How much he wants to be with her in her life. Everyday from now on she can come to this altar to receive Holy Communion, every day she can know that He is with her,
This great sacrament stands for us as sign of how much God loves us. But for those who receive this Sacrament we become a sign of how much God loves us.
We don’t need to think to hard to see that Ellie is herself a sign for us, right in our midst, right in all our lives, that the vulnerable and the fragile like her must be protected ad loved by us all. But we know she is a sign to us of what each of us must be, loving, joyous, transparent, without any sides. She is a sign and sacrament of God’s grace right in our midst.
She is a sacrament herself, when we meet her we are meeting God in our life.
Today at Mass we hear of two people in Jerusalem who met the risen Christ and who didn’t know him. They only knew him when he broke the bread of the Eucharist, then were their eyes opened. In coming to Mass our eyes are opened, he is in our midst, we don’t need to wonder where he is, he tells us that he will be here with us.
In life isn’t it true we don’t see him and yet he is with us. Our eyes are closed, he gives us the sign, yet we don’t see. We breeze through life oblivious to the signs he gives us, the people he puts on our path, the situations he presents to us.
Would that our eyes were opened and that we recognise him.
For all of you who are here today. Look at ths child and see the sign that he is given to you. He is in the breaking of the bread but he is in this beloved child in your midst. Tis child who knows joy and love, kindness. He is here in her life – child of God and much beloved by him. She is put here deliberately to be a sign for all to see.
For those of you who are able come forward to receive Holy Communion today don’t be blind to the signs of Christ’s risen presence that surround you, in the sacrament and all about us. The men, didn’t see, didn’t understand, and Christ was right in front of them. The same way the Lord is right in front of you, don’t miss him: his is in our world, he is in the sacraments, his grace is all about.