It’s already a month since we began to have Mass open to the public. I wouldn’t say that it is the most normal of circumstances for several reasons. Judging by the numbers, people are still hesitant to interact in large groups. We also have to practice social distancing and wear masks during Mass. It might not be the most normal of circumstances, but it is great celebrating Mass with parishioners again!

Even with all these abnormal circumstances, celebrating Mass with people is always better than “Mass online.” Why? The reason might be more theological than you think! While watching Mass online has helped many people stay connected to the parish during the current health crisis, technically, watching Mass is not the same as participating in Mass.

Our faith is incarnational and fully embraces the dignity of what it means to be human (God became man!). By nature, humans are social beings, which means real human interaction is essential to who we are. God’s grace works to perfect our human nature, and does so by working with and building upon our human nature. We receive God’s grace in a unique way through the sacraments, which require our real presence. Think about the sacraments… you have to be there to receive them! There are no “virtual sacraments.” Remember, the Eucharist is about the real presence, not the virtual presence.

Today we celebrate the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Here are some thoughts of St. Francis de Sales on the Eucharist.

Jesus left a distinguishing mark for his community. It is to be love and concern. When we gather it should always be gathering of fellowship marked by love for one another. Figuratively it is a gathering of people who wash each other’s feet. This should be manifested in every Church gathering, in every Mass. This is of the essence of the true community of Christ. This is Christ’s dream.

What is the reality in our church? What are you doing to realize his dream? In every human celebration, friends eat together. When as the family of the Father, we gather in the Spirit to remember Jesus, he wants us to eat together.

The father who loves us provides the banquet. He sends his Son as our food. There is one bread and one cup. “The bread is my flesh for the life of the world”. Anyone who drinks from the cup has communion “with the blood of Christ”. Jesus is not just one among us. We are one in him, in his body. We are Christ. He lives in us and we live through him. He wants to be everywhere throughout the world in and through his communities.

Can you say our parish is the Body of Christ in our neighborhood? Can people see Jesus living in you?

As these abnormal circumstances continue, please remember that the obligation to attend Mass is suspended. If you are uncomfortable coming to Mass for any reason, please know that you do not have to come for the time being. Be united with your Holy Spirit family through live-stream. Keep reading the scriptures. Keep leaning on your faith. Keep praying. With the promise of prayers