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COVID-19 Updates

from fathers desk

My Dear Family,

I am delighted to welcome you back to church this weekend. Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus, so it is a perfect weekend to gather again and celebrate the Sacrament of Sacraments, to gather around the altar and be fed by the beautiful gift our Lord left us, Himself.

This week we are unfolding a new Message Series. Remember, a message series strives to link homilies one to another by a common theme. Over the next four weeks we shall center on the Sacraments - those beautiful gifts of grace Jesus left His Bride the Church as super channels of his gifts, graces and blessings.

Not only did Jesus promise to send us an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to lead us into all truth. He also left us these physical yet spiritual means to commune with God. Not that we cannot commune with God by working in our gardens or by recognizing the movement of the Spirit in a conversation with a friend, but the Sacraments effect the grace they signify. Their power is transmitted to the recipient assuredly, without doubt, when the receiver opens her heart. In the garden, or sharing a cup of tea, we might mistake the role of the Spirit; we might think it's just the sunshine or the sage words of a confidant. With the Sacraments we can be assured that divine blessing is communicated.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that by the body and blood, we participate in Christ, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” And it is this participation that unites us not only with Jesus but with each other. The Body and Blood knits us together into the Body of Christ, the Church. Hence, Saint John Paul can assert: “The Church makes the Eucharist; the Eucharist builds the Church.” (See also 2004 Synod.)

The Eucharist is often called the Sacrament of Sacraments because reception confers Christ Himself, not the gift of new life as in Baptism, or the gifts of the Spirit as in Confirmation, or the gift of forgiveness as in Penance. The Eucharist is Christ Himself, his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - although modern surveys suggest that modern Catholics often fail to espouse this teaching.

The Eucharist is the one food that we consume that we do not transform into us, but by which we are transformed into Him. We are christified or divinized. This transformation occurs subject to our openness to be so configured. God does not force Himself upon us, but always invites. Hence the reason to make a good Confession with regular frequency to remove any obstacles in our hearts to this transformation.

During these past three months we as a Church have been enduring a sacramental drought. As a body we have been more tenuously connected to our Head, and I cannot imagine this spiritual desert has been beneficial for our growth in holiness.

I should like to leave you with an insight I shall develop more this Sunday in the homily. Tertullian  teaches  that the flesh of Christ is “the hinge of salvation.” The flesh of Christ is what redeems us; his offering on the Cross opens the door to eternity. But we are fleshy folk. Our struggles with social distancing, our need for touch and for human contact offer strong evidence (to me) that we are not merely spiritual beings who can pray in their rooms and get the same out of it. We are social beings, tactile bipeds who need more than spiritual gifts. We need that physicality.

Hence the Incarnation - the Word who takes flesh. And hence the Eucharist - that spiritual food delivered under the appearance of simple bread and wine. God our Creator understands our need for that which is tangible. We are not angels, nor do we become angels when we die. Understanding creation better than we do ourselves, our good Lord in radical benevolence and understanding, bestows upon the Church the greatest treasure we have, “the medicine of immortality” ( Ignatius of Antioch.)

Welcome Home to be healed, reunited and divinized!

Fr. Wilson