Pastoral Message – June 19, 2022
We Become What We Receive
Have you ever asked why we, the church, celebrate the special feast of the Body and Blood of Christ even though we can receive the Eucharist every day?
As I looked up the history of the feast, I discovered an interesting story of how the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus came into being.
In 1263, there was a priest named Peter of Prague who was having doubts of faith about the real presence of Christ of the Holy Eucharist. He couldn’t believe that the bread and the wine actually became the body and the blood of Christ. He experienced doubts and struggled with this teaching of faith. Then one day while he was celebrating Mass during the time of consecration, all the while still struggling with this teaching, he received a sign from God to help him in his unbelief. When he held up the Host, he saw the Host start to drip blood and stain the corporal on the altar. He was very shaken by this incident and went to the Pope, who was Pope Urban IV at that time. He told the Pope about his doubts and what had happened at the church during mass. The Pope then sent some of his cardinals to the church to retrieve the blood-stained corporal so that it could be examined.
After the investigations determined and acknowledged the miraculous event, Pope Urban IV in 1264 declared the feast The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The popular name for this feast is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which translates from the Latin to, “Body of Christ.” This solemnity was meant to assist believers in remembering the Eucharist as the real presence of the Body and the Blood of Christ.
Today, if you have a chance to go to Italy and visit the Cathedral of Orvieto, the corporal bearing the spots of blood of Christ is still displayed inside this Cathedral.
Nowadays, living in a world of technology and science, many of us have difficulties understanding and believing in the real presence in the Holy Eucharist. Hopefully, sharing about this miracle will help us in our belief.
Allow me to add another comparison that may also help us understand how the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ is absolutely possible.
When we eat and drink food and liquids, it is transformed into nutrition and energy to help our bodies grow and be nourished. If our body, as a wonderfully created machine, can transform food and drink into different substances that nourish our body, why would it not be possible for God to transform common bread and wine into the real Body and Blood of Christ?
Today as we celebrate the feast of the Body and the Blood of Christ, it is the opportunity to reflect on the great gift of the Eucharist.
In the early Church, there was a man by the name of Justin Martyr. He described how the early Christians received the Holy Eucharist. He said: “they put their hands together and made a throne as if they were to receive a king.” And guess what? We still receive that way to this day.
St. Augustine also said when receiving the body and blood of Christ, it would be appropriate for the minister to say: “Receive what you are, and become what you receive.” By this, Augustine taught that the one who receives the Eucharist is, in a sense, already the Body of Christ. And by receiving it, we will be more Christ-like which is a pure divine gift. Thanks be God.
Happy Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, to all of you.
…And a Farewell note!
Time goes by so fast. I can’t believe that it’s been two years since I arrived here at Saints Simon & Jude. And now, unfortunately, my time of service with and among you
has to come to an end.
It’s hard to say goodbye to the welcoming beautiful people of Saints Simon & Jude. However, this is part of the reality of the ministerial priesthood. I received my new assignment from our Bishop. I will now be assigned to serve at two parishes: Christ Our Savior and Saint Joseph Church in Santa Ana. I start this new assignment on July 1st, 2022.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the love, prayers, and support you offered me while I was here with you. During the time that I have been here, I have learned so much from many of you. I leave here with so many fond memories; memories that I will keep, cherish, and appreciate throughout my priestly journey.
I want to thank Fr. Reynold for being a wonderful pastor and role model. I also want to thank my brother priest, Fr. Mike. He was always so gracious toward me and would always help me out, especially when I needed to switch a Mass time with him.
I also thank all the wonderful office and school staff who have always been there to help me whenever I needed them. And of course, all the wonderful students in our school. You are amazing! It’s always been a joy and pleasure to say Mass with you and for you. “You are my sunshine…” wherever I went and you always will be.
Although we will soon be apart, I am sure there will be reunions and times to catch up, and they will be full of new laughs and good times.
Most importantly, I hope we will remain in touch and in communion with each other through our prayers for each other. God loves you and I love you too.
Blessings and Peace!
Fr. Thanh-Tai Nguyen