Corpus Christi

May our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time!

O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament divine!

All praise and thanksgiving be every moment Thine! 1.

Today we celebrate the gift of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Him to the Church. The invocations above express admirably the scope and purpose of today’s Feast:

To glorify the Blessed Sacrament, and to bring souls to the feet of Jesus, the Divine Lover of souls.

Earlier in the year, on Holy Thursday, the Church celebrated the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, as Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. However, Holy Thursday is caught up, necessarily, in the commemoration of the Passion and Death of Our Saviour, therefore, it was brief and restrained in character. Too brief, too restrained for us to show our belief and faith in the Real Presence.

It was for this reason that Urban IV instituted the feast for the Roman church and about fifty years later Clement V extended its celebration to the Universal Church.

The Mass and Office were composed by St Thomas Aquinas. In the Mass, a liturgical masterpiece, the texts of Sacred Scripture and the prayers present graphically the identity of the Sacrifice of the Mass with that of Calvary and the effects of Holy Communion with special emphasis on charity and unity of which it is the symbol.

Collect

O God, who in a wonderful Sacrament has left to us the memorial of Your Passion; grant, we beseech You, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood as to experience continually within ourselves the fruit of Your Redemption. Who lives and reignes, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen. 2

Epistle 1 Cor. 11.23-29

Lesson from the first Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

Brethren, let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,

This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.

After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:

This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.

What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.

Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.

If you give no thought (or worse, don’t care) about the broken body of the Master when you eat and drink, you’re running the risk of serious consequences. 3

Gospel: John 6.56-59

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St John.

But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.3

I pray that throughout the city of Dublin, the island of Ireland, and elsewhere, more come to understand and love the God of Gods, the King of Kings, who died on Calvary but who gave us the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we may have His Real Presence with us daily in our lives.

O sweetest Lord Jesus, how great sweetness is that of a devout soul feasting with You in Your banquet, in which there is no other meat set before her to be eaten but Yourself, her only Beloved, and most to be desired above all the desires of her heart!


Notes

1. Indulgence of 300 days. Plenary under the usual conditions, if these invocations are recited daily during a month.

2. Collect is a translation of that found in Missale Romanum (1962).

3. Scriptural quotations are from The Message.

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