From the Pastor: Father’s Day and Corpus Christi Combine!
“I and the Father are one.” Thus saith the Lord. So it seems quite right that Father’s Day would be celebrated the same day as the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The day dedicated to the Father is also the day dedicated to His Son, making a distinction without division. The Father is Father because He has begotten a Son. Without the Son, Who is One with Him, He would not be Father. Likewise, the Son, Who, if not begotten by the Father, would not be Son. Relations “make” the Persons, so to speak, as was made perfectly clear by last week’s Trinity Sunday homily. Or maybe it wasn’t so clear. It’s a mystery.
Today’s feast teaches us (or reinforces what we already know to be true) that Jesus is not only fully God but also fully Man. He existed as sole-begotten Son from all eternity, but He took on our human nature about 2000 years ago at the moment of the Incarnation. From that time on, He looked like us, though in reality, it is probably more proper to say that it is us, made in His image and likeness, who look like Him. But it is not just an appearance. In His humanity, He is like us in all things but sin, to borrow a teaching from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. Even now, in His glorified state, He still is fully God and fully Man. His Body is still true food and His blood is still true drink, as He eloquently taught in chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. There, He taught that we must eat His body and drink His blood to have eternal life. This command we fulfill when we receive Holy Communion in a state of Grace. What are we receiving at that time? A piece of bread? No. A piece of holy bread? No. A piece of blessed bread? No. We do not receive bread (or wine or grape juice) at any Latin Rite Catholic Mass anywhere throughout the world. For the bread and wine have, by the time we receive, undergone a change of substance such that the bread and wine cease to exist and, though the “accidents” remain (taste, smell, color, etc.), neither bread nor wine does. By the power of the Holy Ghost working through the validly ordained priest, Jesus Christ, though “hidden” by the accidents, is truly made present: His Body, Blood and Soul (in other words, the fullness of His humanity) and His Divinity (the fullness of His Godhead).
Just as last week we saw Holy Mother Church, out of necessity in trying to explain what is, for humans, unexplainable, namely, God as He Is, had to develop new vocabulary in order to describe to the best of Her ability the Most Holy Trinity, so this week we see Her come up with the word “Transubstantiation” to describe the aforementioned change. Plus, I have already mentioned a similarly “new” word, “Incarnation”, in this article, about which most likely nobody raised an eyebrow, so common has its usage become among Catholics. Yet out of these three “mysteries”, or God-revealed truths beyond (but not contrary to) human reasoning, Transubstantiation is the one that most people, including nearly all non-Catholic “Christians” and a great many Catholics, refuse to believe. Many of these poor lost souls claim (or pretend) to comprehend the Trinity, as if the one true God in three Persons is a common occurrence, common knowledge, or is just plain common sense. They claim (or pretend) to comprehend the Incarnation, as if man can really grasp how the Second Person of the Holy Trinity could become Man without losing or in any way corrupting or diminishing His Divinity. Yet this multitudinous sea of mega-genius theologians cannot accept the words directly out of the Living Word of God as passed down by the written Word of God in John’s Gospel, chapter 6. “Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.” This and the rest of His discourse on the Eucharist was rejected by many of His followers (including one of His Apostles--Judas) when He first revealed this Truth. It is rejected by most of those claiming to be His followers (perhaps even among the successors to His Apostles) to this very day. I pray that you, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, know the Truth. The Father sent His Son for our Salvation. He, in turn, gave His flesh for the life of the world. Believe.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka