Solemnity of Corpus Christi
June 14, 2020
The eternal Word of the Father who is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, Son of God, has fulfilled his promise to stay with us forever, becoming Bread of life and Drink of salvation in the sacrament of his Body and blood which is the Eucharist; the real and sacramental presence of Christ that we worship today in our temples and which we will not be able to process through our streets, because of the particular situation of the pandemic that afflicts us.
Although, in some places, this solemnity has been celebrated on Thursday the 11th, we propose for this Sunday the readings of the liturgy of Corpus Christi, since it is the one that is mostly celebrated.
Reading the book of Deuteronomy (8, 2-3. 14b-16a)
Moses spoke to the people saying:
“Remember all the way that the Lord, your God, has made you walk these forty years through the wilderness, to afflict you, to test you and know what is in your heart: whether you observe his precepts or not.
He afflicted you, making you hungry, and then fed you maná, which you did not know or know your parents, to make you recognize that not only does man live on bread, but he lives off everything that comes out of God’s mouth.
Do not forget the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery, who made you travel through that immense and terrible desert, with scorching snakes and scorpions, a sequedal without a drop of water, which drew water for you from a pedernal rock; who fed you in the desert with a mana your parents didn’t know.”
Come out 147, 12-13. 14-15. 19-20
Glorify the Lord, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion.
He has reinforced the bolts of your doors, and blessed your children within you.
He’s made peace on your borders, he satisfies you with a flour flower.
He sends his message to earth, and his word runs fast.
He announces his word to Jacob, his decrees and mandates to Israel;
with no nation did he work like this, nor did he make his mandates known to them.
Reading the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (10:16-17)
Is the chalice of the blessing we bless not communion of Christ’s blood? And the bread we set off, is it not communion of the body of Christ?
Because bread is one, we, being many, form one body, for we all eat of the same bread.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to John (6:51-58)
At that time, Jesus said to the Jews:
“I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; Whoever eats this bread will live forever. And the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews disputed each other:
“How can he give us to eat his meat?”
Then Jesus said to them:
“Truly, I say unto you, if ye do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink not his blood, ye have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will resurrect him on the last day.
My flesh is real food, and my blood is a real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I dwell in it. As the Father who lives has sent me, and I live for the Father, so the one who eats me will live for me.
This is the bread that has come down from heaven: not like that of your parents, who ate and died it; who eats this bread will live forever.”
This feast of Corpus Christi was instituted by Urban IV in 1264, who entrusted St. Thomas Aquinas with a complete office, some of whose hymns and antiphons have gone down in the history of the liturgy as the highest theological expression of this ineffable mystery of the Eucharist.
Discovering the ultimate, cultural and religious roots of this sacrament of the Church, which retracts the Last Supper of Jesus with its disciples, is a challenge for a community and for each of us personally, because as Vatican II says, this sacrament is like the “culmination of all Christian life” (LG 11) and also as soon as it “lives in it “lives in it , the Church of God is constantly built and grown” (LG 26).
In the first reading taken from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses invites God’s people to remember, to remember how God delivered them from slavery, and fed them manh in the wilderness, despite difficulties and sufferings.
Psalm 147 invites us to praise the almighty God who does not abandon his people, but guides and feeds them with flour flower.
In the second reading, St Paul invites the Corinthians, in a very direct and synthetic way, to reaffirm faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, consecrated bread and chalice of blessing, foundation of communion in the faith and love of the whole Christian community, one Body, that of Christ, which is the Church.
In the Gospel, St John offers us the Eucharistic discourse of Jesus, in which he defines himself as the Bread lowered from heaven, new Mana, which gives eternal life to those who eat it, a bread of eternal life that identifies with his flesh and blood. Those of us who partake of this sacrificial feast are heirs to the promise He makes to us: He will dwell in us, we will live for Him and for Him.
This Feast of Corpus Christi invites us to contemplation, gratitude and commitment.
1.- Contemplation and adoration of the mystery of the Word embodied in the bowels of Mary who became visible in Bethlehem (house of bread), contemplated and worshipped by humble shepherds and illustrious characters from afar. Contemplation and worship of what happened at the Last Supper when Jesus surprised his disciples with his gestures and words: “Take and eat, this is my Body; take and drink this is my blood.” Contemplation and worship of Christ himself who did not settle for becoming man and being Enmanuel, God with us, but lowering one more step in his anonyment became bread and wine, food and drink, which after consecration are his Body and His Blood, to enter physically within us at the time of communion.
2.- Thank you for this wonderful gift of the Eucharist, which perpetuates the presence of Christ in our midst and who performs, in a simple and sublime way, his Easter promise: “I will be with you always”. Gratitude for thus opening to us the doors of the intimacy of God One and Triune, of eternity, of full and true life. Thanksgiving, that means the word “Eucharist”, because he walks with us and lives among us; for this mysterious solidarity with all humanity, especially in the procession that is carried out this day year after year and which we year long for not being able to carry out today. Gratitude that we can manifest every time we enter the temple by going to greet the Lord, who follows and awaits us in the Sacrament.
3.- Commitment not to forget it, not to abandon it, to take care of its presence in our temples, dignifying and adorning the place where we reserve it. Commitment also to make us like Him, bread of life for others. His Body, which is broken, divided and shared, as the sacrifice of God’s new Covenant with humanity, reminds us of all Christians’ duty to be Eucharist for others, broken bread, distributed and shared, integrating and assuming sacrifices and pains, for the growth of the community, of the Church, but also of the society in which we live. Let us ask ourselves today, before Him, what he expects of me at this particular moment of suffering and fear, how I can become a Eucharist for others, what I have to do to make Christian charity a reality in my environment, what I must do or say so that in my gestures and words they can recognize Him, to be also supportive and generous to those around me and need , even if I don’t know them.
Caritas Christi urget us… Christ’s love presses us.
Prayer: Adoro te devote (Holy Shots of Aquinas)
I adore you with devotion, Hidden God, truly hidden under these appearances.
My heart submits completely to You, and gives up completely as I contemplate you.
When judging from You, the sight, the touch, the taste are wrong; but it is enough to believe firmly; I believe everything the Son of God has said: nothing is truer than this word of truth.
Only the Divinity was hidden on the Cross, but humanity is also hidden here;
However, I believe and confess both, and I ask for what that repentant thief asked for.
I don’t see the sores as Thomas saw them, but I confess you’re my God:
make me believe more and more in You, that in You I wait and love you.
Memorial of the Lord’s death! Living bread that gives life to man: grant my soul that he lives from You and that he always savors your sweetness.
Lord Jesus, good Pelican, clean me, filthy, with your Blood,
from which a single drop can free the whole world from all crimes.
Jesus, whom I now see hidden, I beg you, to fulfill what I so long for
that when I look at your face face to face, I’m happy watching your glory. Love.