"The Heavenly Marriage Feast"

Sunday within the Octave

of Corpus Christi

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday 14 June 2020

“But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited, shall taste of my supper.” Lk. 14;24

Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, “The Liturgical Years” Vol. 10 gives us an elaborate commentary on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi by relating the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and the parable of the “Marriage Feast. “But, lo! the Son promised to David has sat upon His throne of glory. He is the source of Wisdom. The four rivers of Paradise have derived all their waters from Him. His thoughts are more vast than the sea, and his counsels more deep than the great ocean (cf. Ecclesiasticus 24:34-39). He is come to fulfil the mysterious design of the divine and sovereign will — that is, to re-establish, by uniting all things in Himself, all that are in Heaven and on Earth: (Eph. 1:10). He is truly Mediator, for He is Himself both God and Man. And being also High Priest, He is the bond of that holy religion which fastens on all things to the Creator in the unity of one same homage. His Sacrifice is the masterpiece of the divine Wisdom: it is by that Sacrifice that, embracing all created beings in the immensity of the love whose impatient ardour has been the subject of our past considerations, He makes the whole world become one sublime holocaust to His Father’s glory. Let us then proceed to consider Him in this immolation of His victim. Let us reverently watch Him setting forth His table ( cf. Prov. 9:2). The Eucharist has been instituted for the very purpose of ceaselessly applying, here on Earth, the reality of Christ’s Sacrifice. Today, therefore, we will turn our thoughts upon this Sacrifice, as it is in its own self. This will enable us the better to understand how it is continued in the Church.” Gueranger, Ibid., pp. 317-118

The Infinite Sacrifice of the Cross

“It is by Sacrifice that God attains the end He had in view by creation, that is, His own glory (cf. Prov. 16:4). But in order that there should go up from this universe a an homage in keeping with the magnificence of its Maker, there was needed some one leader or head who should represent all creation in his one person. And then, using it as his own property, should offer it in all its integrity, together with himself, to the Lord God. There was something better than this, and it is just what God has done: by giving His own Son, clad in our nature, to be the Head of creation, He obtains an infinite return of glory, for the homage of this inferior nature assumes the dignity of the Person offering it, and the honour thus paid becomes truly worthy of the supreme Majesty. And as a banker knows how to draw golden interest from even the least sum entrusted to his keeping, so our God has, from a world made out of nothing, produced a fruit of infinite worth. Gueranger, Ibid., p. 320

Jesus Christ is Priest and Victim

“…Oh, then let our High Priest come forth. Let the divine Head of our human race and world show Himself! Because He has loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore has God anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows (cf. Ps. 44:8) His brethren. He was Christ by the priesthood destined to be His from the very bosom of His Father, and confirmed by a solemn oath ( cf. Ps. 109:4). He is Jesus, too, for the sacrifice He is about to offer will save His people from their sin (cf. Mt 1:21). Jesus Christ, then, is to be forever the name of the eternal Priest. What power and what love are there not in His Sacrifice! Priest and Victim at one and the same time, He swallows death in order to destroy it, and by that very act crushes sin by His own innocent flesh suffering its penalty. He satisfies, even to the last farthing, yes, and far beyond it, the justice of His Father. He takes the decree that was against us, nails it to the Cross, and blots out the handwriting. And then, despoiling the principalities and powers of their tyrant sway, He triumphs over them in Himself ( cf. Col. 2:14-15). Our old man was crucified together with Him that the body of sin might be destroyed; renovated by the Blood of his Redeemer, he can rise together with Him from the tomb and begin a new life (cf. Rom. 6:4-10). “You are dead,” says the Apostle, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God; when Christ will appear, who is your Life, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3). For it is as our Head that Christ suffered. His Sacrifice includes the whole body, of which He is the Head, and He transforms it by uniting it to Himself for an eternal holocaust, the sweet fragrance of which is to fill Heaven itself.” Gueranger, Ibid., p323-324

Jesus Celebrates the Rite of His Sacrifice in Heaven

“Having, therefore, as our great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God, who by one oblation has perfected forever the holy City, let us hold fast the teaching of this glorious faith (cf. Heb. 4:14; 10:14) As the high priest of old went on the day of Atonement, himself alone into the Holy of Holies, holding in his hands the blood of propitiation, so our High Priest Jesus, having purchased eternal redemption for us, has withdrawn Himself for a time from our sight (cf. Heb. 9:12, 24). Minister of the true sanctuary and tabernacle set up by God Himself ( cf. Heb. 8:2), we have seen this Jesus of ours entering, by His triumphant Ascension, beyond the veil. And that veil is still down, hiding God’s sovereign Majesty from our view. There, in the sanctuary of Heaven, is He celebrating, and with unbroken unity, the rite of His Sacrifice, presenting thereby to His Father, in the human nature which He has assumed and which is now marked with the bright stigmata of His Passion, the august Victim whose immolation here on Earth called for the consummation in Heaven.” Gueranger, Ibid., p. 327-328

“Let us love one another in deed and in truth.” First Jn. 3:18

“These impressive words of the Beloved Disciple 1 John 3:13-18 could not have a more appropriate occasion for their being addressed to the faithful than this joyous Octave. God’s love for us is both the model and motive of that which we owe to our fellow-men: the divine charity is the type of ours. “I have given you an example,” says our Lord, “that, as I have done to you, so you may also do (Jn. 13:15). If, then, He has gone so far as to lay down his life for us, we also should be ready, if occasion so required, to lay down ours, in order to procure our neighbour’s salvation, and still more ready to help him, to the best of our power when he is in need. We should love not in word, or in tongue, but in deed, and in truth.” Gueranger, Ibid., p. 331

A New Commandment

“Now the divine memorial, which is shining on us in all its splendour, what else is it than an eloquent demonstration of infinite love? A living remembrance, and abiding representation of that death of our Lord on which the Apostle bases his argument. Hence it was that our Divine Master deferred His promulgation of the law of fraternal love, which He came upon our Earth to establish, till He instituted the Holy Sacrament which was to give the strongest support to the observance of that law. No sooner has He effected the august mystery, no sooner has He given Himself to mankind under the sacred species, than He exclaims: “A new commandment I give to you, and this is my commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 8:43; 15:12). Truly the commandment was a new one, considering that the world to which it was given had egotism as its leading law. This new commandment was to be the distinctive mark of all Christ’s Disciples ( cf. Jn. 13:35), and, as one of the shrewd observers of these early pagan times says, consign them to the hatred of the human race ( cf. Tacitus, Annals, xv.), which was in open violation of this law of love. It was in answer to the hostile reception given by the then world to the new progeny, that is, to the Christians, that Saint John thus speaks in the Epistle of this Sunday: Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death.” I Jn. 3:13-14... Gueranger, Ibid., p. 331-332

Charity Binds All Christians

The union of the members with each other through their divine Head is the condition on which the existence of the Christian religion is based. The Eucharist is the vigorous nourishment of this union. It is the strong bond of Christ’s mystical body which thereby “makes increase in charity” (Eph. 4:16). Charity, therefore, and peace, and concord are, together with the love of God Himself, the best proof that our reception of Holy Communion is not turning to our condemnation, and the most needful of all preparations for our participation in the sacred Mysteries. It is the meaning of that injunction of our Lord: “If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave there your offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to your brother; and then coming, you will offer your gift” (Mt. 5:23-24). Gueranger, Ibid. p. 332

The Gospel of the Marriage Feast

“The Gospel (Lk. 14: 16-24) just read was appointed for this Sunday long before the institution of the Corpus Christi feast, as we learn from the Capitulary of Gospels published by Blessed Thomasi on manuscripts much earlier than the thirteenth century. The Holy Spirit who guides the Church in her arrangement of the Liturgy was thus anticipating and completing the instructions suited for the future grand Solemnity. The parable here spoken by Jesus at the table of one of the leading Pharisees ( cf. Luke 15:1) was again used by Him when He spoke so strongly in the Temple a few days previous to His Passion and Death. And what is this Supper to which many are invited, what is this Marriage-Feast, but that which eternal Wisdom has been getting ready from the very beginning of the world? Nothing could exceed the magnificence of these preparations. There was a splendid banquet hall built on the top of a mountain (cf. Is. 2:2), and supported by seven pillars (cf. Prov. 9:1) of mysterious beauty. There were the choicest meats, purest bread and wine the most delicious, served up to the King’s table. It was with His own hands that the Wisdom of the Father pressed the rich cluster of Cyprus grape into the cup ( cf. Song 1:13). It was He who ground down the wheat that had sprung up without having been sown from a soil holy beyond description. It was He that immolated the Victim.” ( cf. Prov. 9:2). Gueranger, Ibid., p. 334-335

Israel Rejects the Marriage Feast

“Israel, the Father’s chosen people (Ecclesiasticus 24:13), was the fortunate guest invited by the loving kindness of the Master, that is, Wisdom, that is, the Son of the Father. He had sent messengers without end to the children of Jacob. As we read in the Gospel: “The Wisdom of God said: ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles’” (Lk. 9:49). But this favoured people, this loved one, as the Book of Deuteronomy says, grew fat and kicked, that is, it abused the gifts bestowed on it. It seemed to study how to provoke the anger of God its Saviour by despising His invitations, and going their ways ( cf. Deut. 32:15). This daughter of Sion, in her adulterous pride, preferred the bill of divorce to the Marriage-feast ( cf. Is, 1:1). Jerusalem rejected the heavenly messengers and killed the prophets (cf. Mt 23:34-37), and crucified the Spouse Himself.” Gueranger, p. 335

Israel Still Rejects the Marriage Invitation

“But, even so, eternal Wisdom still offers the first place at the Supper to the ungrateful children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He does so because of those saintly fathers of theirs. Yes, it is to the lost sheep of the house of Israel that are first sent the Apostles (cf. Mt 10:6; Acts 13:46). “What delicate attention!” may we justly exclaim with Saint John Chrysostom. “Before His Crucifixion, Christ calls the Jews. He does the same after it, He goes on inviting them. Instead of crushing them with a terrible chastisement, as it seemed most just He should do, He invites them to a Marriage. He loads them with honours. But they that have slain his prophets, and murdered even Him — these same, invited so pressingly by such a Spouse, urged so lovingly to go to the Wedding, and that by the very Victim of their own making — these same, I say, pay no regard to the invitation, and give as an excuse their yoke of oxen, and their wives, and their estates!” Soon these Priests, these Scribes, these hypocrite Pharisees, will persecute and slay the Apostles also. And the servant of our parable will find none in Jerusalem whom he can induce to come to the Master’s Supper, except the poor, and little, and sickly ones, of the roads and by-lanes, with whom there is no ambition, or avarice, or pleasure, to keep them from the divine banquet.” Gueranger, Ibid., p. 335-336

The Gentiles Attend the Marriage Feast

“Then will be realised the vocation of the Gentiles, that great mystery of a new people being substituted for the former one in the covenant with Jehovah. “The Marriage of my Son is, indeed, ready,” will God the Father say to His servants, “but they that were invited were not worthy. Go you, therefore: abandon the wicked city that has not known her time, and my visit! Go into the highways, and hedges, and countries of the Gentiles; and as many as you will find, call to the Marriage!” (Matthew 22:8-14; Luke 14:44) Gueranger, Ibid., p. 336

The Need for the Wedding Garment

“O you Gentiles! Praise the Lord for His mercy ( cf. Rom. 15:9). You have been invited, without any merits of your own, to a feast that was prepared for another people. Take heed, lest you incur the reproach given to the intended guests who were excluded from the promises made to their fathers. You lame one, and blind, that have been called from the by-path of your sin and misery, hasten to the holy table! But, then, take care, out of respect to Him who calls you, to put off the rags of your former life: and quickly put on the wedding-garment! The invitation given you has made a queen of your soul. Give her, then, the purple robe and diadem, and set her on a throne! Think of the Marriage you are invited to attend — the Marriage of God! Oh, the soul that goes to it, should be clad and decked with a garment richer than all the garments of earth!” Gueranger, Ibid., p. 336-337

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