January 24, 2020

Announcements

• The next Dads’ Prayer Group meeting will be on Sunday, January 26, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom.  All dads are welcome!
• Looking Ahead:  The Sacrament of Confirmation will be bestowed on those students who would like to receive it on Monday, April 27, at 5:30 PM, in the abbey church.  More information to come.

Athletics

• The next soccer game is: Tuesday, January 28, at 2:00 PM, at Lake Forest Sports Park.
• The next basketball game is:  Monday, January 27, at 5:30 PM, at Liberty Christian School
[7661 Warner Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92647]; and Friday, January 31, at 4:30 PM, at Avalon High School [200 Falls Canyon Rd, Avalon, CA 90704].

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

It’s easy, as we go through life, to forget what being a Catholic is really about.  We have so many things that occupy our minds on a daily basis—so many worries, concerns, cares.  We can get so bogged down with life that we see our Catholic Faith as just one more obligation—another list of do’s and don’ts.  And all we get out of it is some donuts and Friday Night Bingo!

In today’s second reading St. Paul gives us some idea of the immense benefit (to put it mildly) of being Catholic.  In short, when we are baptized, we become members of the Mystical Body of Christ.  In fact, the Catholic Church and the Mystical Body of Christ are one and the same thing.  You cannot belong to one without belonging to the other.  So, what does that really mean? Just more donuts and Bingo? No.  Much more; infinitely more!

Someone once described the Church as “Jesus Christ poured out and communicated” [Bossuet].  Bishop Fulton Sheen called the Church the “prolongation of the Incarnation.”  To put it even more simply, the Church is Christ Himself; it’s the Mystical Body of Christ of which Jesus is the Head.

Now, this is not exactly easy to understand.  It is, after all, a supernatural mystery.  But St. Paul is, you might say, the expert on this topic—and it shouldn’t surprise us.  Just recall his conversion story.  He (then known as Saul), was persecuting Christians.  Our Lord appears to him and says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” And Saul says, “Who are you?”, And Jesus said, “I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting.”  Now, Christ had already died, risen and ascended to heaven years before.  He was no longer living on this earth as an individual person.  So, why does He say to Saul, “You are persecuting Me?” when it was the first Christians he was 
persecuting? Because Jesus and His Church are one—the same Mystical Body, the same spiritual being, if you will.

Some 2,000 years ago our Lord took on human nature, uniting it to His own divine nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary; and thus we have the Person Jesus Christ—one Divine Person, two natures, a human nature and a divine nature, perfectly distinct, but perfectly united in one Divine Person.  He lived 33 years on this earth:  preaching, healing, working miracles, expelling demons, redeeming us by His suffering and death, and finally rising from the dead and ascending to heaven.  But His relationship with us did not end there.  “Behold, I am with you until the end of time,” He said.  And He prayed to His heavenly Father before He left this world:  “Father, may they be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You; that they may be one in Us.”  He asked the Heavenly Father that all of us might be as close to Father, Son and Holy Spirit as They are to each other.

You can say that the Church was first conceived when God united His divine nature to our human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  It was at that point that God Himself began a relationship with human beings in a way that had never before existed in history.  And it would be on Pentecost, when He would send His Holy Spirit upon the Apostles that the Church would finally be born.  And from that time on, every human being who receives the sacrament of Baptism becomes united to Christ in a union that is so intimate, so special, that they become a member of this spiritual body, of which Christ Himself is the Head, the Holy Spirit is like the Soul, and all other Christians are fellow members of the same body.  As St. Paul said in today’s second reading:  Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.  This is something quite amazing, mind-blowing even.  God allows us to become part of the same spiritual being as He.  We don’t become God; but we do share in His divinity.  We don’t become the Person Jesus Christ; but we do somehow become a member of His Spiritual Body, which we call the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church.  Again the words of St. Paul:  By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (1 Cor 12: 7-13).  To be Catholic is to be a member of Christ’s Mystical Body.  
Now all our good actions become divine-like; by His grace whatever good we do and suffering we endure obtains heavenly merit.  Now we share in all the good works, redemptive sufferings of Christ the Head of the Body, and even in all the good works of all the members of the same Mystical Body, from the Blessed Virgin Mary, to all the saints in heaven, to all the holy each other living still in this world—much more than just donuts and Bingo!

Now this Mystical Body of Christ, though it has Christ for its Head and the Holy Spirit as its life source, it is made up of you and me—imperfect humans, sinners even; and so, unlike Christ Himself Who is perfect, the Mystical Body can always grow still more in holiness.  Recall what St. Paul once said:  I complete in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His Body, the Church (Col 1:24).  At first glance this can seem like heresy.  What can be lacking in Christ’s sufferings? He was perfect.  His sufferings were enough to redeem the entire human race.  St. Paul means that, while Christ as an individual Person already suffered and redeemed us, each of us as members of His Mystical Body are called to do our part.  For, where Christ the Head has already gone, so His Mystical Body must follow.  So, as Our Lord, was born, preached, healed, casted out demons, converted sinners, suffered, died and rose—so  His Mystical is now called to do the same; we as members of His Mystical Body are called (each in his own way) to do the our part.  

These days, when the world seems so dark, it can get kind of lonely being a Catholic.  Don’t fall into that trap.  We are not alone—far from it.  If you are in the state of grace, you are a full member of Christ’s Mystical Body which is the Church—you are united by a supernatural bond of grace and charity (a bond which can be destroyed only by our own mortal sins) to every saint in heaven, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to every Catholic living today, and most especially to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity:  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  

Finally let us never receive Holy Communion unworthily; for it is by a good Holy Communion that we especially become ever more closely united in this Mystical Body—that’s why we call it “Communion.”  By It we help built up that sacred spiritual community, which is the Mystical Body of Christ—His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  Amen.

Prayer Requests

• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.