By Dr. Carol Younger
Early childhood memories are always scant. Even if stored away securely, they are sort of foggy, with edges of pictures you remember frayed, not much light cast on the scene. The center scene is clear, light, real. When I was 5 or maybe 6, I remember my mother in center scene bringing a HUGE box of homemade, frilly, decorated cupcakes to my first grade public school classroom. In my mind’s eye, I sat off to the side, in a little tiny desk. My mother was focused on an unseen blurry teacher in the frayed scene edge. Mother said emphatically there were plenty cupcakes for everybody, including the adults. I remember how pretty Mom was, and that the treat was for the whole class and me. That’s all I remember from the scene. I told Mom about the memory years later. She remembered, she said, that the school wasn’t safe, that she removed me from it and put me in Catholic school, though Dad was not Catholic at that point and did not favor the move. I moved to Catholic school in 2nd grade—First Communion year.
I remember a lot about 2nd grade in Holy Spirit Catholic Parish School. I was pretty special there and not in a little tiny desk. The children and teacher welcomed me, and my Mom was frequently there, talking with the nun, even laughing. I often even sat at Sister Marina’s desk, a teacher’s desk! I was the only second grader able to read, and I was chosen to read a lot in the class, stories to all the children in the class. Wow, was I special, and my mom did not have to bring cupcakes to get into the classroom either!
So, this Sunday’s readings, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, really resonate with me!
Moses says: “He has chosen you!” Psalm 103 speaks of the everlasting kindness of the Lord. John writes: “…we remain in him…he has given us of his Spirit”, the Holy Spirit! And in the Gospel, Jesus makes clear that though the wise and the learned have things hidden from them by the Father, He reveals them to “little ones,” like me in 2nd Grade—First Communion year. Jesus goes on to state that “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Jesus really revealed the Father to our family that year. By the end of 2nd Grade, my father had been baptized, my mother and father had their marriage convalidated in the church, and Stan and myself were baptized as well. AND, I was invited to the Holy Communion rail in Holy Spirit Parish Church. The rest, as they say, is history.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
We were chosen, all of us in our family. And, so too are you chosen. Was it in Second Grade? Maybe yes. Maybe no. But if you are reading this, you are chosen. Jesus has shown you His Most Sacred Heart, and He beckons you. Take His Sweet Yoke on your shoulders. To paraphrase Moses in the reading from Deuteronomy: It was not because you are the largest …[or the most important]…that the Lord set His Heart on you, and chose you….It was because the Lord loved you and because of his faithfulness to [His New Covenant in the Eucharist]….
So, today, receive the kind, Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist as if He were your First Communion (or even your Last Communion).
About the Author:
Dr. Carol Younger is a Senior Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Advisory Board Member for the Great Adventure Bible Studies, author of Listening and Study Guides for biblical and theological presentations through St. Joseph Communications, author of the Retreat Companion for 33 Days to Morning Glory through Marian Press. An accomplished leader in public and private education and a popular adjunct professor at an evangelical Christian university in Southern California. Active in many parish ministries, including RCIA and Catechetical training.