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  • Writer's pictureFr. Tien Cao

The Mystical Body of Christ

The Mystical Body of Christ can be understood as both the Eucharist and the universal Church. It is a divine mystery that encompasses both aspects.

Firstly, the Eucharist is the culmination of Jesus Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of all sinners. Through the Eucharistic sacrifice celebrated in local churches on Sundays, Christ perpetuates His sacrifice on behalf of us all. By receiving Holy Communion, individuals unite ourselves completely with Christ, desiring to be one with Him. Through this reception of the Holy Eucharist, one becomes united with the Risen Christ and, in turn, with God. Thus, receiving the Eucharist is not merely inviting Christ into one's life; rather, it is Christ actually coming into one's very being.

Secondly, the Mystical Body of Christ can be understood as an organic social entity. Just as Christ is both fully human and fully divine, so is the Church. While the Church may be affected by human flaws and sins, like weeds among fine wheat, she is also holy, sacred, and divinely united with Jesus Christ. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another" (Romans 12:4-5). In fact, our Mackenzie Parish now comprises people of diverse nations, such as Kiwis, Filipinos, Sri Lankans, Canadians, Irish, English, Scottish, Indian, Vietnamese, Fijians, Germans, and more. Though many, we are one. The Mystical Body of Christ is organic in the sense that every member of the Church is interdependent, just as different parts of a body breathe with the same Lungs - the Holy Spirit, beat with one Heart - the Father, and think with one mind - the Head, Jesus Christ. In the same way that the suffering of one body part affects the whole body, in the Church, individual members do not live solely for themselves but also help and support one another. Together, we collaborate for the common good and the building up of the entire Body.

Finally, as baptised believers, we are the body, we are the blood of Christ in the world. Let us ‘praise the Lord’ for the gift of the Mystical Body of Christ, which offers divine solidarity to the entire world and sustains our personal growth in sanctity.

Fr. Tien Cao

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