I have this picture in my mind of Jesus sitting quietly ...away from his followers and thinking about you and me ...of our great-grandparents ...and of all our friends and relatives not yet born.
I can imagine him asking himself the following question.
Do I love my mother more than my apostles and disciples? And then, after thinking about it, saying, I have a special relationship with her, as I do with my cousins like John the Baptist, but to say that I love her and our relatives more than all others would not be true because I love everyone without any limit….even bad people who are mean and angry.
But family is family and that is always special. There is no doubt about it I must find a way for everyone to become part of my family, to become related to me ...even to the extent of sharing my body and blood.
I have already blessed married couples, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers with a special gift of unity with each other, a relationship that comes with marriage. They are two in one flesh ...as closely related as any brother and sister or parent and child could ever be.
Before I leave this world I will gather my Apostles around me and I will bless bread and wine ...and I will tell them that, because of my power as God, to eat this bread or to drink this wine will make them as closely related to me as I am to my mother. It will be hard to believe but it will be true. And then I will give them, this power, the power of a priest to do this for all people ...now and forever...
And that, boys and girls brings us here, to your parish church where you, for the first time, will join all of us, your brothers and sisters through Jesus, in celebrating this wonderful expression of God’s love for each one of us.
To you the families and friends of these beloved children, I say ...let your example guide them into an ever increasing sense of the significance of this day. Live and practice the Faith as handed down to you. Share it openly with them. Like most of us they will walk up their share of blind alleys and along well beaten tracks to nowhere...
Now is the time to join the Good Shepherd in giving them something of value, to hold onto and perhaps, if necessary, later, to return to.
As members of the broader ecclesial community we all have a role to play. We, brothers and sisters in and through Christ are, each one of us, angels with one wing. The only way we can fly is to embrace each other.