1 Jun 2013

2nd June 2013 - Solemnity of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) - UPDATED

On this week’s programme John and Shane reflect on the meaning of Corpus Christi which we celebrate in Ireland this weekend. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some liturgical odds and ends, our saints of the week and some local notices.

You can listen to the podcast of this week’s programme HERE.

Solemnity of Corpus Christi
The Feast owes its existence to Blessed Juliana of Liege, who began devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in around 1230. Largely through her insistence, in 1264 Pope Urban 1V commanded its observance by the universal church. While the Church celebrates the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday because it falls within the solemn and reflective time of the Easter Triduum, Juliana wanted to encourage a joyful celebration of this great gift of our Divine Master to the Church and to the world.  The Feast sums up three important confessions about our Faith. First is that God became physically present in the person of Christ, True God and True Man. Secondly, God continues to be present in His people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in his church. And thirdly, the presence of God under the form of bread and wine is made available to us on the altar at Mass and preserved there for our nourishment and worship.
Shane and John reflect on the meaning of the feast this week and how it encourages us to recognise that we too are the Body of Christ in the world today remembering the words of St Teresa of Avila, "Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours".The feast itself is one full of tradition and often times public witness to our faith by processions and public benediction. It is a reminder of the centrality of the Eucharist to our faith life, what the Vatican Council called the "source and summit" of our faith.

... What you see is the bread and the chalice -

this is what your eyes tell you.
But what your faith needs to be informed of -

the bread is the body of Christ, the chalice is his blood.
This is why these things are called sacraments,

because in them one thing is seen, but another is understood.
If you wish to understand the body of Christ,

listen to what the apostle says to the believers,
'You are the body of Christ and his members.'
If, therefore, you are the body of Christ and his members,

it is your own mystery that has been placed on the table of the Lord. It is your own mystery that you receive.
To this which you are you respond 'Amen'
and in responding, you accept it.
What you hear is 'the Body of Christ'

and to this you respond 'Amen'.

So, be a member of Christ's body,
that your Amen may be true...."

St Augustine of Hippo
Previous posts from the blog on the feast of Corpus Christi including the hymns written for the feast day by St Thomas Aquinas can be read HERE.
Pope Francis homily on Thursday night from the Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi in Rome in St John Lateran.

“Jesus speaks in silence in the Mystery of the Eucharist,” he said, “and every time reminds us that to follow Him means to come out of ourselves and make of our own lives, not a possession, but a gift to Him and to others......Faced with the neediness of the crowd, the solution of the disciples (in the Gospel) is that every man should take care of himself… How many times do we Christians have this temptation?” he asked his listeners. “We do not care for the needs of others, dismissing them with a pitiful, ‘God help you.’” .....

the Pope told his listeners, Jesus calls us to take action and to respond personally to the needs of others. “People should not fear solidarity,” he said. “Because [it is] only in sharing… that our lives will be fecund.”
Afterwards Pope Francis walked in procession behind the Blessed Sacrament from St John Lateran to St Mary Major before giving the Benediction.


Last year in the lead up and during the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, the Irish Dominicans held a series of talks and reflections on the great Eucharistic hymns written for the feast of Corpus Christi by Thomas Aquinas which were recorded and can be viewed on their Dominican Interactive website:

  • Theologian to the Papal Household, fr Wojciech Giertych OP, preached a homily on the text of one of the best-loved Eucharistic hymns: the 'Pange Lingua', composed by St Thomas Aquinas OP for the feast of Corpus Christi
  • Fr Paul Murray OP, Professor of Spiritual Theology at the Angelicum University, Rome, preached on the text of the 'Adoro Te Devote'. Fr Paul is a poet and a theologian, and he shares with us some insights into St Thomas as poet and theologian.
  • Fr Terence Crotty's talk on the 'Lauda Sion', the Sequence for the feast of Corpus Christi.
  • Fr John Harris OP, the Regent of Studies of the Irish Province of Dominicans, spoke at the final evening session of the 'Adoro Te Devote' programme, held in conjunction with the International Eucharistic Congress. His topic was the 'Verbum Supernum Prodiens', the hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas for Lauds of the feast of Corpus Christi.

Gospel – Luke 9:11-17

With this week’s gospel we return to the synoptic gospels after the marathon of Easter and Pentecost with St John. For the feast day we have presented to us the story from Luke of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Once again what strikes you about the passage is the abundant love of God for each one of us. The recollection of the event invites to reflect on this love which God has for each one of us, no matter what. All we have to do is respond to it. Christ opened his arms on the Cross to embrace the whole of creation in one redemptive act. And that event continues on today where cross time and space he is reaching out to embrace each one of us. The generosity of that love comes across in today’s gospel and invites each of us to welcome that embrace of God but also to continue to share that love with those we meet.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
Sunday Reflection
English Dominicans
Blue Eyed Ennis here and here
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Liturgy of the Hours: Psalter Week 1, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

Pope’s Intentions for June

General – That a culture of dialogue, listening and mutual respect may prevail among the nations.
Missionary – That where secularisation is strongest, Christian communities may learn to effectively promote a new evangelisation.

Saints of the Week

June 3rd - St Kevin of Glendalough (In Ireland). (On the universal calendar it is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and Companions – the Ugandan martyrs)
June 4th – St Charles Lwanga and Companions – Ugandan martyrs (In Ireland)
June 5th – St Boniface
June 6th - St Jarlath
June 7th – Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (First Friday)
June 8th – Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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