Feast of Corpus Christi

Enjoy these two brief articles on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ:

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which translates from Latin to “Body of Christ.” This feast originated in France in the midthirteenth century and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. This feast is celebrated on the Thursday following the Trinity Sunday or, as in the USA, on the Sunday following that feast.

This feast calls us to focus on two manifestations of the Body of Christ, the Holy Eucharist and the Church. The primary purpose of this feast is to focus our attention on the Eucharist. The opening prayer at Mass calls our attention to Jesus’ suffering and death and our worship of Him, especially in the Eucharist.

At every Mass our attention is called to the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ in it. The secondary focus of this feast is upon the Body of Christ as it is present in the Church. The Church is called the Body of Christ because of the intimate communion which Jesus shares with his disciples. He expresses this in the gospels by using the metaphor of a body in which He is the head. This image helps keep in focus both the unity and the diversity of the Church.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is commonly used as an opportunity for public Eucharistic processions, which serves as a sign of common faith and adoration. Our worship of Jesus in His Body and Blood calls us to offer to God our Father a pledge of undivided love and an offering of ourselves to the service of others.

From:  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint/solemnity-of-the-most-holy-body-and-blood-of-christ-270

The feast of Corpus Christi is one time when our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is exposed not just to faithful Catholics but to all the world. This is a time when Catholics can show their love for Christ in the Real Presence by honoring Him in a very public way. It is also a wonderful way in which we can show our love for our neighbors by bringing Our Lord and Savior closer to them. So many conversions are a result of Eucharistic Adoration experienced from inside the Church. How many more there would be if we could reach those who only drive by the church in worldly pursuits.

From: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/pea/cchristi.htm

Fr. Bob Writes – June 16, 2019

“Since we are justified by faith …”   These words are taken from the opening of our second reading this Sunday, the feast of the Holy Trinity.  The come from the fifth chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Romans.

To be “justified” means, literally, to be in line with a guiding standard.  When you do a word document on the computer, for example, you can set it up so that the letters on the left and/or the right will be justified according to the standard of the margin you have set.  When it comes to life, the question about justification is what will be the standard according to which we strive to align our lives.

Paul compares two such standards, the first being the Mosaic Law, the second being faith in the person of Jesus Christ.  Being justified in relation to the Mosaic Law means being in line with or obeying the dictates of the major and minor commands and precepts of that Law.  Paul proposed a different standard, that of faith, according to which one is justified by striving to live a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Attempting to be justified by the Law may encourage good moral conduct, but such a focus has some major drawbacks.  No one is able to be successful at following the law 100% of the time.  When one estimates that he or she is doing well by this standard, there is a tendency to be prideful for one’s personal accomplishments and judgmental towards others who do not observe the Law as perfectly. 

Justification by faith recognizes personal dependence on God, seeks God’s guidance, and humbly counts on God’s forgiveness when we fail.  It still challenges us to strive for perfection in moral life, but not as a mark of personal achievement but rather as part of one’s response in relationship to Jesus Christ.   What does having faith and a personal relationship with Jesus mean to you? 

Fr. Bob Writes – Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019

The presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested in wind and fire at Pentecost, which we celebrate this Sunday.  “Hrua,” the Hebrew word for Spirit, also means wind or breath. It is the word for the mighty wind sweeping over the waters at the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:2).  It is the word in Ezekiel 37 when the prophet is called on to breathe God’s life into dry bones to bring them to life. At Pentecost, the wind or breath of the Spirit animates the people and gathers them together.

God guided the Israelites through the desert with a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21).  At Pentecost, God guided the apostles with a small pillar of fire over each of them.  People can stare into a campfire for hours, captivated by the energy, brilliance and movement of the flames.  The power of God, symbolized by the flames of fire came upon the apostles to move them and give them energy for the mission, so that, in the fulfilment of that mission, their lives might be pleasing offerings to God. 

The Jewish feast of Pentecost was called Shavuot, initially celebrated as a time of thanksgiving for the harvest.  It was also called the Feast of Weeks, being celebrated seven weeks after the Passover.  By the time of Jesus, it was a major pilgrimage feast, thus accounting for the many people from all nations gathered in Jerusalem at the time.  The celebration was also associated with the giving of the Jewish Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to the apostles to give them a “New Law” to be written, not on stone tablets, but in people’s hearts.  The many territories listed in this first reading were places where Christianity would spread in the course of the first century; where the word of God preached by the apostles and their successors would be understood by people in their own language. 

The fact that the people gathered together to witness the manifestation of the Spirit could understand the apostles’ proclamation of praise stands in contrast to the story of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11) in which God confuses the language of people for presuming that they could accomplish whatever they wanted on their own.  On Pentecost everyone is able to understand the message, for it is a message uniting them as one in the name of Jesus and his Holy Spirit, not through their own personal gifts and accomplishments.  To be moved by the Spirit requires handing over the direction of one’s life to God to direct your life and use you for God’s purposes.

(with thanks to Fr Denny Dempsey)