The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) – Solemnity
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
The Eucharist in the Economy of Salvation
The signs of bread and wine
At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread….” “He took the cup filled with wine….” the signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine” – gifts of the Creator. the Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering. In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God; their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God’s faithfulness to his promises. The “cup of blessing” at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup. The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus’ glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ. The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”: The Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has “the words of eternal life” and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.
The institution of the Eucharist
The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love.161 In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; “thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament.”
The Sacramental Sacrifice : Presence
The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit
“Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “he is present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species.”ย ย The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.”ย ย It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. the Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:ย ย “It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. the priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered. and St. Ambrose says about this conversion: “Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. the power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed…. Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature. The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.” The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.
Worship of the Eucharist
In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.” The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,” even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love: The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease. “That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood is something that ‘cannot be apprehended by the senses,’ says St. Thomas, ‘but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.’ For this reason, in a commentary on Luke 22:19 (‘This is my body which is given for you.’), St. Cyril says: ‘Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for since he is the truth, he cannot lie.'” Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more, See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art. Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived; How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed; What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true. (St. Thomas Aquinas (attr.), Adoro te devote; tr. Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Catechism of the Catholic Church – Copyright ยฉ Libreria Editrice Vaticana
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto,
The Sunday Mass – Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
(June 18, 2017)
Presider: Most Rev. Robert Kasun CSB
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
18 June 2017
Commentary of the day
Saint John-Mary Vianney
(1786-1859), priest, curé of Ars
Selected sayings of the holy Curé d’Ars
The Eucharist opens the gates of Paradise
If we were able to understand thoroughly all the blessings contained in holy communion, nothing more would be needed to satisfy the human heart.
Our Lord said: “Anything you ask the Father in my name, he will grant it you” (Jn 16:23b). But we should never have thought of asking God for his own Son! Yet what we should never have thought of, God has done. That which man could neither utter, nor imagine nor venture to desire, God, in his great Love, has spoken, conceived and executed.
Without the divine Eucharist there should not have been any happiness in this world, life would be unbearable. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive all our joy and gladness. God, wanting to give himself to us in the sacrament of his Love, has given us a desire so vast and great that he alone can satisfy it… Beside this beautiful sacrament we are like someone dying of thirst beside a river, yet it has only to bend its head!… Like someone who remains poor beside a treasure, it has only to hold out its hand!
If we were able to understand thoroughly all the blessings contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be needed to satisfy the human heart.vangelizo.org 2001-2017
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
18 June 2017
Saints of the day
St. Gregory Barbarigo,
SAINT GREGORY BARBARIGO
Gregory Barbarigo, born in Venice of an ancient and noble house, was graduated with high honors at the University of Padua, where he received doctorates in both canon and civil law.
At the age of nineteen, while attending the Peace Congress at Münster at the instance of the Apostolic Nuncio, Fabio Chigi, he decided to consecrate himself to the service of the Church.
After Gregory was ordained to the priesthood, it was this same Chigi, now raised to the papal throne as Alexander VII, who nominated him to the Bishopric of Bergamo, then created him a cardinal and finally transferred him to the Bishopric of Padua.
In carrying out his pastoral duties, he imitated the zeal of St. Charles Borromeo and labored until the end of his life at the task of putting into effect the admonitions and decrees of the Council of Trent concerning the uprooting of vice and the promotion of virtue.
He enlarged the seminaries of both Bergamo and Padua; he added to the prestige of the latter city, particularly, by establishing a library there, and also a printing press for the purpose of publishing books for the peoples of the Near East in their own language.
He took special pains to promote catechetical instructions and made it a special point to visit every village of his diocese, teaching and encouraging wherever he went.
He was remarkable for his works of charity and holiness of life, being so generous to the needy and the poor that he sold his furniture, his clothing and even his bed in order to help them.
At length, after a short illness he fell asleep peacefully in the Lord on June 15, 1697. Famous for merit and virtue, he was beatified by Clement XIII and added to the list of saints by John XXIII.
The Roman Breviary
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
18 June 2017
Saints of the day
Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus,
SAINTS MARCUS and MARCELLIANUS
Marcus and Marcellianus were twin brothers of an illustrious family in Rome, who had been converted to the Faith in their youth and were honorably married. Diocletian ascending the imperial throne in 284, the heathens raised persecutions.
These martyrs were thrown into prison, and condemned to be beheaded. Their friends obtained a respite of the execution for thirty days, that they might prevail on them to worship the false gods, Tranquillinus and Martia, their afflicted heathen parents, in company with their sons’ own wives and their little babes, endeavored to move them by the most tender entreaties and tears.
St. Sebastian, an officer of the emperor’s household, coming to Rome soon after their commitment, daily visited and encouraged them. The issue of the conferences was the happy conversion of the father, mother, and wives, also of Nicostratus, the public register, and soon after of Chromatius, the judge, who set the Saints at liberty, and, abdicating the magistracy, retired into the country.
Marcus and Marcellianus were hid by a Christian officer of the household in his apartments in the palace; but they were betrayed by an apostate, and retaken. Fabian, who had succeeded Chromatius, condemned them to be bound to two pillars, with their feet nailed to the same. In this posture they remained a day and a night, and on the following day were stabbed with lances.
Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed.