Bishop’s Letter: Eucharist Body and Blood of Christ

Jun 3, 2021


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.
Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ


My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

For many months, we were starving.  We were in ‘lockdown’ as we compassionately cared for our sisters and brothers—to protect them from a deadly disease.  It was our proclamation of life in its fullest—a proclamation of the gift of the Eucharist—that we deprived ourselves of so great a gift that we might serve God extraordinarily.  We were deprived of sacred food and drink for months at a time because of our unity through, with and in Christ.

Now God blesses us as we open our churches more fully.  In a sense, the deprivation we felt highlighted all the more our hunger and thirst for the Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ.  We are filled full as we dine in the kingdom of God.  God prepares a banquet before us presided over by Christ, a vast table of the choicest food made to nourish and sustain our souls.  This act of love is offered to us so that we – God’s family – will thrive outside the walls of the church.

This offering does not occur without us.  Jesus said, “Take it; this is my body.”  We are His body.  We join Christ in offering ourselves to God, selfless in His offering to us.  We become His sanctuary.  The Eucharist sustains us in hope and joy while preparing us for the eternal banquet of heaven.  How beautiful is the body of Christ!

The beauty of this body is as diverse as the landscape of the earth.  During the celebration of Mass, we receive a commissioning, a ‘sending forth’ to be God’s Word among the people.  In our spiritual reality, food plays a primary role in the story of salvation, from the forbidden fruit in the garden which brings forth sin and death to the food of Christ’s body on the tree of the cross which brings forth everlasting life.  St. Augustine, writing on the nature of this sacred food hears God say, “I am the food of grown men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh, into yourself, but you shall be changed into me.”  We eat and drink at the table of the Lord and we become of Christ.

The all-enfolding Liturgy requires us to go forth proclaiming the Gospel.  We cannot ‘attend’ as by-standers.  As we walk into the door of the Church for the celebration of Mass, we are signing again the Covenant with God, committing ourselves to be holy.  This means that we must spend time in grace and mercy; we must be willing to forgive, to extend God’s mercy because we are of Christ living in a world where the embrace of forgiveness is so desperately needed.  It means that we must feed each other with nourishment for the physical body – those family members who sit at our table and those family members who have no table.  It means that we must pray for those whom we embrace as ‘our own’ and for those whom we have difficulty.  On May 29, I conferred the Sacrament of Ordination to the Priesthood upon three men, Father Francisco Ojeda, Father Nathanael Soliven, and Father Roberto Marquez.  I ask that you pray for them as they come to know and serve you.  They will need the strength of your prayers that God’s wisdom will be revealed to them.

Accepting the Eucharist is a moment of conversion through, with and in Christ, He is resurrected and living among us.  Christ is not far away.  He is always with us.  My sisters and brothers in Christ, “Take and eat.”  “Take and drink.”  Sanctify the earth.  May we always experience in ourselves the fruits of God’s redemption.