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From Safari….

Christ is risen, alleluia! Truly He is risen, alleluia!

Today and the next three weeks, youth of our One In Christ communities, will be making their first communions. Do you remember your first communion? I can remember the day before meeting with the pastor. I don’t recall the questions, but I remember being nervous, hoping the questions would not be hard. I answered well enough to be okayed for first communion. Saturday afternoon was my first confession, nerves were again high, as I entered the dark chamber and waited for the little door to open. Sunday found me dressed in white (I still have the bow tie) sitting with all my classmates (parents sat behind us). I remember that the moment was peaceful after having received Christ’s body (only the priest received the precious blood). After mass it was back home to celebrate with family.

Receiving Christ’s body and blood is such a precious gift. A miracle before our eyes every time we gather for mass, as the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood, this food that nourishes us for the events of our life in the coming day and week. Congratulations to all those receiving Eucharist for the first time in our parishes.

Receiving communion is an act of faith. As I often share with the first communicants, it looks like bread, tastes like bread but is really Christ’s body; looks like wine, tastes like wine but is really Christ’s blood. We know this be true because we use Jesus’ words to bless the bread and wine, and his words are powerful.

On this Second Sunday of Easter (same gospel every year) we watch as Thomas turns from unbelieving to believing in the Risen Christ. Thomas leaves for us an example of how to live midst our doubts. Here is another story about doubt. There is a story about St. Christopher, probably more legend than truth, which runs this way: As a youth, Christopher was gifted in every way, except faith. He was a big man physically, powerful, strong, goodhearted, mellow, and well liked by all. He was also generous, using his physical strength to help others. His one fault was that he found it hard to believe in God. For him, the physical was what was real and everything else seemed unreal. However, he yearned to believe in God and deeply respected those who did believe. And so he lived his life in a certain honest agnosticism, unable to really believe in anything beyond what he could physically see, feel, and touch.

This, however, did not prevent him from using his gifts, especially his physical strength, to serve others. This became (Ministry & Life Perspectives Continued) his refuge, generosity and service. He became a ferryboat operator, spending his life helping to carry people across a dangerous river. One night, so the legend goes, during a storm, the ferryboat capsized and Christopher dove into the dark waters to rescue a

young child. Carrying that child to the shore, he looked into its face and saw there the face of Christ. After that he believed, for he had seen the face of Christ. The very name, Christopher, contains the legend. Christopher means Christ-Bearer.

The story of Thomas and Christopher provide us response to our moments of unbelief. I think all of us move in and out of unbelief, a weakness of faith, especially when the events of life are beyond comprehension – personally tragedy, the mess of politics, the ugliness of violence. The answer to our skepticism and doubt is to live our lives honestly, continuing to use the gifts that have been given to us. To keep our hearts open and respond to Christ’s call to come and see, as He reveals himself in those we encounter or the events of our day. May our week bring us many proofs of the Risen Christ in our midst.

Christ is Risen Alleluia! Truly he is risen!

Fr. Ron

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