Solemnity of the Corpus Christi,
Sunday, 6 June 2021
(Novus Ordo Mass)
“...Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many. Mk. 14:22-24
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi which commemorates the Holy Eucharist which Jesus Christ instituted at the Last Supper with the words, “This is my body… this is my blood…” Mk. 14:22& 24 He told His disciples “…do this in remembrance of me.” Lk. 22:19 It is truly the most wonderful threefold blessing which Jesus could leave us---, He left us Himself in the Holy Eucharist. First, He is ever-present in the tabernacle in our churches in the Blessed Sacrament. Second, He is also sacrificed for us at Holy Mass when the priest consecrates the bread and wine separately into the Body and Blood of Christ; the separate consecration signifies death (when the blood is separated from the body, there is death). Third, He also comes to us in Holy Communion. This threefold blessing of the Holy Eucharist in Jesus’ Presence, Sacrifice and Communion for us are blessings which we can never fully understand. Who could understand that Jesus is truly present “body and blood, soul and divinity” in the Holy Eucharist. All we can do is thank Him (Eucharist means thanksgiving) and adore Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
“How inestimable a dignity...”
St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Dominican theologian, wrote so admirably of Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist: “How inestimable a dignity the divine bounty has bestowed upon us Christians as from the treasury of its infinite goodness There neither is nor ever has been a people to whom the gods drew so near as our Lord and god draws near to us. Desiring that we be made partaker of His divinity, the only begotten Son of God has taken to Himself our nature, so that having become man, He would be enabled to make men godlike. Whatever He assumed of our nature became instrumental in the work of our salvation. For on the altar of the Cross He immolated to the Father His own Body as victim for our reconciliation and shed His Blood both for our ransom and for our regeneration. And so we were liberated from our wretched bondage, washed clean of all our sins,. Moreover, in order that a remembrance of our great benefactions may always be with us, He left the faithful His Body to be taken as food and His Blood as drink, under the appearances of bread and wine.”
“O banquet most precious!
O banquet most admirable!”
St. Thomas reminds us that nothing is more excellent than this Sacrament: “O banquet most precious! O banquet most admirable! O Saving banquet overflowing with every spiritual delicacy! Can anything be more excellent than this repast in which not the flesh of goats and heifers, as of old, but Christ the true God is given us for nourishment! What more wondrous than this holy Sacrament! In it bread and wine are changed substantially, into the Body and Blood of Christ. Yes, under the appearance of a little bread and wine is had Christ Jesus, fully God and fully man! St. Thomas extols the benefits which we receive in the Holy Eucharist: “In this Sacrament sins are purged away, virtues are increased, the soul is satiated with an abundance of every spiritual gift. No other sacrament is so beneficial. Since it was instituted unto the salvation of all, it offered by Holy Church for the living and for the dead, that all may share in its treasures. Indeed, it is beyond human power to express the ineffable delicacy of this Sacrament in which spiritual sweetness is tasted in its very source; in which is brought to mind the remembrance of that all-excelling charity which Christ showed in His sacred Passion. Surely, it was to impress more profoundly upon the hearts of the faithful the immensity of this charity that our loving Saviour instituted this Sacrament at the Last Supper when having celebrated the Pasch with His disciples, He was about to leave the world and return to the Father. It was to serve as an unending remembrance of His Passion, as the fulfilment of ancient types—this the greatest of His miracles. To those who sorrow over His departure He has give a unique solace.”
“Cum Amore ac Timore” (“With love and fear”)
Bishop Athanasius Schneider in his booklet, “Dominus Est—It is the Lord!” pointed out historically the development of receiving Holy Communion: “The gesture of receiving the Body of the Lord in the mouth (on the tongue) and kneeling could be a visible testimony to the faith of the Church in the Eucharistic Mystery....The desire to offer the august person of Christ affection and honour at the moment of Holy Communion in a visible manner would correspond to the spirit and example of the bi-millennial (2,000 years) tradition of the Church: ‘Cum amore ac timore’ (‘with love and fear,’ the adage of the Fathers of the first millennium) and ‘quantum potes, tatum aude’ (‘do as much as you can,’ the adage of the second millennium, coming from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Sequence for Corpus Christ, the ‘Lauda Sion’).” Schneider, p. 50 Communion in the hand has only been a modern innovation of last few decades and has never been the tradition of the Church for almost two thousand years. Show your great love and respect (“Cum amore ac timore) by always receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue--- “It is the Lord”!