Corpus Christi Sunday 2015
ProLifeCorner- I received this from a friend this morning thought it would be of interest to many of you. ED
Sunday, June 7th, 2015 Exodus 24:3-8 Hebrews 9:11-15 Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
“This is my body…this is my blood.”
Eating and drinking are among the most important things human beings do. From the time we are fed by our mothers as infants and onwards, there is no more basic need. Eating and drinking are also a fundamental part of how we build our society. Families eat together, friends and colleagues meet to eat and drink, whether it be in a nice restaurant or a fast-food outlet at a local shopping center. Birthdays, graduations, weddings and funerals are usually marked by some sort of eating and drinking.
In the sphere of religion it’s no different. In the Old Testament God’s relationship with His people is often marked by some sort of eating and drinking: this begins, of course, with Adam and Eve eating what they shouldn’t! The great liberation of the Exodus starts with God instructing the people how to cook and eat the paschal lamb, and then to make unleavened bread and season the meal with bitter herbs. This became the central rite of sacrificial, sacred eating among God’s chosen people. The Gospels tell us how from his childhood Jesus devoutly went on pilgrimage every year at the Passover. During the Passover, every family offered a lamb to be sacrificed in the Temple and eaten in a ritual festive manner. Other sacred eating and drinking involved the Temple priests consuming sacred bread, and pouring out and drinking wine, “the blood of the grape”.
Jesus, of course, knew all these rituals and liturgical practices. He drew on them all when He instituted the sacrifice of His own body and blood at the Last Supper. Recalling the manna in the desert and the sacred bread eaten in the Temple, Jesus chose bread as the element most suitable for being transformed into His body and blood, soul and divinity. In addition, knowing that wine both cheers the heart of mankind, and has overtones of suffering and being poured out, He chose it as the other most suitable element to be transformed into His body and blood, soul and divinity.
These two elements are each made by their constituent parts being ground and pressed together and made into one. The separate grapes are collected and crushed; the separate grains of wheat are ground and mixed together. This process symbolizes both the passion and death of Christ, and the fact that we are united in Christ. St. John’s Gospel makes clear that Jesus was being slaughtered on the cross at the same time as the paschal lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple. St. Paul uses a very early Christian formula in one of his letters: “Christ our paschal lamb is sacrificed!”
So Jesus took all these rites and images from the Judaism of His time, and transformed them into a new rite where He Himself is sacramentally present among us. This presence renews His sacrifice and nourishes us, His people. As the letter to the Hebrews points out, the sacrifices in the Temple were good, as they pointed to the Messiah who was to come, but now that Jesus has come, we now offer up not the body and blood of lambs and bulls, but the very person of Jesus Christ Himself, as He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven in a glorified state.
Baptism is called the “most necessary” sacrament, because it gives us a new birth in the life of grace. The Eucharist, however, is called the “most excellent” sacrament. So great is this mystery that the Church has given us this special feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (aka Corpus Christe), in which we can contemplate and celebrate the gift of the real and true presence of the Lord among us, in all the tabernacles of the world until the end of time. It was instituted universally in the year 1264 by Pope Urban IV (4th). This was partly due to the influence of a woman known as Blessed Juliana of Liege (Lee ay zsh – in modern-day Belgium). So the feast was established both by popular demand and by the authority of the Pope.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, although we hold this feast only once a year, every time we celebrate Mass we celebrate the feast of Christ’s body and blood (Corpus Christe). We can also spend time with Christ outside of Mass. If we are lucky enough to have access to a church, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved and sometimes exposed for adoration, we can kneel or sit before the Lord personally. We can adore Him silently or tell Him our troubles and joys. If we don’t have this luxury, then we can pray the words of the Mass at home, or use various devotions with special relevance to the Eucharist, such as the Litany of the Precious Blood. For us Catholics, every day can be a feast of the body and blood of Christ – Corpus Christe!
Mary, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us!
Today’s readings Sunday, June 7th, 2015
Exodus 24:3-8 Hebrews 9:11-15 Mark 14:12-16, 22-26