- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2006

These are translated excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Thaddaeus Yong Song Kim, the pastor at St. Paul Chung Catholic Church in Fairfax.

Today in the life of the church we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ — Corpus Christi. As Korean Catholics, we look back with gratitude on a history rich in sacrifice and courage. Our ancestors in the faith were brave enough to face persecution. They became martyrs and saints. We can best understand the history of our people — of our Korean forebears in the Catholic faith — through the lens of Jesus’ love for his people.

Our ancestors laid down their lives for the faith. They guarded this faith, and we have inherited it. For them, receiving the Eucharist — Holy Communion — sometimes meant becoming a martyr. As we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Eucharist today, we know and believe, as they did, that eternal life comes through Him.

I would like to share a story paraphrased from a novel titled “One Tuesday Afternoon.”

In a small town, there once lived an unknown boxer with his blind mother and younger sister. The boxer made a living as a sparring partner for other boxers. He tried hard to support his mother and sister. One day, after years of fighting, the boxer died. At his grave, his mother cried endlessly and said: “My son, the food that you brought home came from selling your body and blood.”

This poignant story points us, in some sense, to our Savior, who bore our transgressions, whose body and blood won our salvation. At the Last Supper, Jesus held up a piece of bread and said: “This is my body, which will be given up for you.” He did the same with a cup of wine by saying, “This is my blood, which will be shed for all. Do this in memory of me.”

These words of our Savior are not intended as mere symbols. These words became a reality through His death on the cross. Christ gave His body for us, mere sinners. And as Jesus taught us at that Passover meal, we remember his death and the new life from the Eucharist every time we celebrate Mass.

The entire life and mystery of Jesus Christ is contained in the Eucharist. For in the Eucharist, we see the life of Jesus — the Jesus who was mocked and misunderstood. In the Eucharist, we see the one who came to this world as a servant, even stooping to wash the feet of His disciples.

In the Eucharist, we see the true love of Jesus, who gave us the bread of life. We encounter the one who said, “I am with you always, even to the end of time.” The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when you receive the Eucharist, imitate the life of Jesus. Be courageous in the fight for the justice in the world, in the fight to end abortion. As you receive the Body of Christ, open your heart to help your less-fortunate neighbors, as Jesus taught us. Share what you have with others. Give to the poor from your own abundance.

When we become one body with Christ, there is nothing we cannot achieve. There is no disagreement or divisions which cannot be overcome. True peace is possible with Him. May the bread and wine of which we partake lead us to profess with one voice: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

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