June 18th, 2017

Published on Jun 17th, 2017 by Parish Office | 0

My Dear St. Bernadette Family,

There is a great difference between a symbol and the real thing.  Our flag is the symbol of our country, but the country itself is so much more: the people, the land, the history, the founding documents, the dream and mission.  A heart is a symbol of love, but love is a relationship that is physical, mental and spiritual, with a history, a future and all the complexity of human emotions, needs and gifts.

So, on this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, which do we have before us, a symbol of God or the Divine presence? Many look upon the bread as a symbol, but our tradition from the very beginning has been the conviction that it is the real thing – Christ’s Body and Blood.

We see this clearly in the scriptures where Jesus takes the bread and says “this is my Body.” He does not say this is a symbol of me or just a memory of when I walked on the earth. The apostles didn’t take it as a symbol, but taught from the very beginning that we were to take and eat not a symbol, but the Body and Blood of Christ.
A symbol reminds us of something, but the real thing is an experience, a presence, an encounter with Christ. Whether it be at the moment of our “communion” with Him or our adoration of Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament, we become one with Him. A symbol cannot do this.

If you have migrated to seeing a symbol of Christ when the host is raised at Mass, you might want to rethink this belief. You just might be missing an opportunity that is amazing.

With Love,

Fr. Tom

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