How wonderful would it be to receive an express package from God? This is exactly what Fr Bernard Paul received from a member of the youth at the First Holy Communion celebration at the Church of Divine Mercy here in Penang.
The package contained three gifts, a bible, a crucifix and a chalice. As Fr Bernard revealed the gifts he explained to the first communicants that the bible is word of God. It gives us a vision of what God wants for us. The crucifix represents Jesus Christ who came and died for our salvation. And lastly, the chalice which represents the Eucharist, bread from heaven, we are told to eat it and become more and more like Jesus. Fr reminded all present that these gifts are constantly given to us through the mass. We are to take God’s word, his son with food from heaven for our journey in life. These gifts cannot be bought but are given freely. The more we accept these gifts the more we become like Jesus. Every mass is a gift. It is given to be appreciated and not taken for granted. The Eucharist at each mass gives us the ability to make us fully become who we are.
In his homily, Fr. Bernard reminded the congregation of the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness and the lessons we can learn from them. In the first temptation Jesus was asked to turn rocks into bread. Jesus with his power could have easily done this. We are reminded not to abuse the powers that are given to us and use it for the wrong things. Next, Jesus was asked to throw himself down from a high place to be saved by his angels. We are told not to gain popularity from doing sensational things. Do not gain popularity through spectacular performances. In the third temptation, Jesus was asked to bow down to the devil. We are told not to serve two masters for ours is a jealous God. We are to choose to serve our God alone. In conclusion, the lesson we learn is that we have a God who will never let us down or let go of us. If we move away from God a tension will arise. We need to ask ourselves who we are. We need to keep in mind the three temptations – abusing our power, the desire for popularity through sensational means and the need for other gods in our lives.
At the end of mass that was animated by the children of the CEC, a group picture was taken with Fr. Bernard, the teachers and Sr. Gertrude Tan who conducted the First Communion Camp the weekend before. The 31 communicants were then treated to a potbless organized by their parents at St Faustina Hall. Each of them was then presented with their First Communion certificate and a souvenir of a decade rosary. For the congregation of CDM this was a historic occasion as it celebrated the first time this First Holy Communion was carried out in the church.
Dr. Ivan Filmer