“But not for me.”
That’s what my 6-year-old whispered to me when our priest lifted the host above his head and repeated the words of Jesus, Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.
Allow me to explain. My son isn’t melodramatic, he’s just jealous that his brother is receiving his first communion this year and he is not. As we were leaving the house for mass that morning, I told my older son that the occasional pre-mass bites to eat would be coming to an end once he starts receiving the Eucharist.
It’s always interesting to me when something I say get little to no response at the moment, but then comes back around later, especially in a case like this where the child I wasn’t even speaking to heard it louder than the intended recipient. They are always listening! Except when they aren’t. But I digress…
So in this pivotal moment in the mass, my son heard the words that Jesus’s body was offered for him and came to the conclusion that because he doesn’t receive communion yet, Jesus’s death was for someone else.
Who did Jesus die for? Just the people who already went through faith formation, put on the white robe and posed for a First Communion photo session? Of course not! In fact, in Romans 5:8 it says,
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
Jesus died for the fallen away Catholic, the doubter, the Presbyterian, the infant, the atheist, the cheater, the lukewarm, and praise the Lord, for the 6-year-old who is still over a year away from the first moment he will get to hold the body of Christ in his tiny fingers.
I wanted my son to know with every fiber of his being that Jesus DID in fact give up his body for HIM, but if I stop and examine my own convictions, I don’t think I feel the same urgency for others to know it. Sure, God gave me a special love for my children, but still. He wants me to have a special love for His children too. So here is a challenge I’m issuing myself and you: pray.
Pray that God will help you encounter one person this week who thinks that Jesus died for someone else and not them. He will give you the words to say or the smile or hand to extend that will share the greatest truth they will ever know. Jesus is for them.
Copyright Abby Watts 2019