Tuesday, May 24, 2005

CORPUS CHRISTI SUNDAY

“WHOEVER EATS THIS BREAD WILL LIVE FOREVER!

Because of fallen human nature, we frail mortals need constant reminders of the reality of the supernatural mysteries of our faith. Precisely for this reason, on Corpus Christi Sunday, the Church contemplates the Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament. The Eucharist is at the heart of our holy religion. The Second Vatican Council identifies the Blessed Sacrament as: “The source and the summit of all the sacraments."

The Mass Sequence for Corpus Christi Sunday is the Lauda Sion, written by Saint Thomas Aquinas. In this splendid expression, the Church prays practically all of her Eucharistic beliefs. Let us consider some of the Thomistic reflections found in the Lauda Sion.

1) "CHRIST'S FOLLOWERS KNOW BY FAITH THAT BREAD IS CHANGED INTO HIS FLESH AND WINE INTO HIS BLOOD."
At the Consecration of the every Mass, when the Priest says, “THIS IS MY BODY”, the entire substance of the bread is changed into the Body of Christ. With the words, “THIS IS MY BLOOD,” the entire substance of the wine is changed into the Blood of Christ. This mystery of Catholic faith is known as transubstantiation.

2) "MAN CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS."
As with the Blessed Trinity, the Eucharistic mystery is beyond our understanding. Yet, Our Lord Jesus demands our faith, just as He did of the Israelites in the sixth chapter of John.


3) "HIS BODY IS OUR FOOD, HIS BLOOD OUR DRINK."
Our Lord also says in the sixth chapter of Saint John's Gospel: "Unless you eat my Body and drink my Blood, you will not have life in you." Our reception of Holy Communion must be a frequent occurrence throughout our lives. Weekly reception is of the greatest importance; it is only exceeded daily reception. Without frequent Communion, one would be literally starving to death, spiritually.

4) "CHRIST REMAINS ENTIRE UNDER EACH SPECIES."
When a person receives the Sacred Host, he or she receives the whole Christ, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. The same is true of the Precious Blood. If one were to receive only from the Cup, that person would also receive the whole Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, as well. This is know as the Church’s Doctrine of Concomitance.

5)"THE GOOD AND THE WICKED ALIKE RECEIVE HIM BUT WITH THE UNLIKE DESTINY OF LIFE OR DEATH."
It seems as though a blight of reason has set into the minds of many modern Catholics. Perhaps some have reduced religion to a mere sentimentality. Sad to say, some folks refuse to acknowledge that Holy Communion cannot be received in the state of mortal sin. Moreover, as Pope John Paul II was quite clear on numerous occasions, one CANNOT merely make an act of contrition and go to Holy Communion. If one is in mortal sin, a person one must go to sacramental confession before Communion.

Saint Thomas is painfully clear on this matter. The "destiny" of those who receive Holy Communion in mortal sin is "death." Saint Paul is equally precise. "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the Body and Blood of the Lord" (1Cor 11: 27).

If there are any among us who have been receiving the Holy Eucharist in the state of mortal sin, I urge them, as a Priest of Jesus Christ, to go to sacramental confession to a Priest as soon as possible.

6) "REMEMBER THERE IS AS MUCH IN A FRAGMENT AS IN AN UNBROKEN HOST."
The Church teaches that as long as any particle of the Host is visible to the eye, no matter how small, the Real Presence is in that particle. It is precisely for this reason, that the Priest, or a duly authorized minister, must conscientiously and meticulously purify the sacred vessels after Holy Communion.

7) "JESUS, GOOD SHEPHERD AND TRUE BREAD, HAVE MERCY ON US!"
In the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord has entrusted Himself to us, completely. Our Divine Savior is present in the Church until the end of time. He is present with us with us as our food and drink. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, nourishes us, sanctifies us and sustains us with the Living Bread so that we can attain eternal life in heaven.

Our Lord is also with us so that we can adore Him, love Him and console His Sacred Heart. Our Divine Savior is with us in the Blessed Sacrament because He loves us. He wants to be with us always, really, truly, and substantially.

In reflecting of the Eucharist, let us be mindful that, in another sense, the Lord Jesus is with us through the ministry of Priests. In the Holy Sacrament of Confession, we receive from the Priest, forgiveness of our sins and the divine mercy of Jesus Christ, which is beyond our poor comprehension.

On this Corpus Christi Sunday, let us unite with Pope Benedict XVI and the Universal Church in adoring the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist. "O! Sacrament Most Holy! O! Sacrament Divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!"
May Mary, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, teach us to know, love, and serve Our Eucharistic Lord with ever greater love and devotion. Amen!

Father Richard J. Rego

2 Comments:

Anonymous Victor Panlilio said...

On Corpus Christi Sunday after regular Mass we began a special service presided over by our Archbishop, then we had a Eucharistic Procession through the northwest sector of our city, Calgary. It was an inspiring, uplifting day, filled with faith and fellowship. It is always good to be reminded of the mysterious presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, something that we often take for granted.

9:51 PM  
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