O Sacrament Most Holy

09-01-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Thursday, September 5, the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Teresa of Calcutta – Mother Teresa. We are blessed to have a relic of Mother Teresa, which you will be able to venerate at the end of the 5:30pm daily Mass.

I want to thank both Fr. Ernie Hepner and Fr. Renaurd West for their incredible help while the search is on for a parochial vicar. Their wonderful assistance helps make sure we can continue the Mass schedule as it presently is, which is designed for two priests. The search is still on, so please pray for whoever our new parochial vicar will be.

As I mentioned last week, I couldn’t help but be alarmed at the results of a recent study that said 69% of Catholics in the United States believe that the bread and wine used in Mass “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” If that number is correct for the people of St. Mary’s, then I and every priest before me have failed you tremendously in not getting across one of the most vital, long standing teachings of our divine faith.

We are speaking of two thousand years of Catholic tradition, running from Scripture through the Church Fathers and right up to the present day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that, beginning “at the moment of consecration” (CCC 1377), the bread and wine offered at Mass “become Christ's Body and Blood” (CCC 1333).

This is not a metaphor, a symbol, or a spiritual idea; it really happens. In the Communion we receive, the Most Blessed Sacrament, “the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (CCC 1374).

The consecrated elements still appear to our senses as ordinary bread and wine; but they have been transubstantiated (or changed in substance) into the Body and Blood of Christ. After all, God created everything out of nothing – absolutely nothing. The eternal and divine Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity took on flesh in time as a human baby, hiding His glory. He still looked like a baby, then a teen, then a man; but He remained the eternal God come to us. Recall that He changed the substance of water into wine. And there’s much more. Changing the substance (what something is) of bread and wine into Himself is not difficult or impossible for God, who does what He says for our nourishment and salvation.

This is why Catholics attending Mass are encouraged to “convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest” (CCC 1387); it’s why we adore the Consecrated Host, “not only during Mass, but also outside of it” (CCC 1378) in the tabernacle; it’s why we genuflect before entering the pew. Join me in rediscovering the truth and beauty of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, truly and substantially present to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament!

Father Wilson