The Most Holy Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi - Year C - 29th May, 2016

Corpus Christi

For most of us of an older generation this feast brings back memories of Corpus Christi processions. Sadly, the tradition has vanished in most English parishes. However, these processions are still very popular in the Latin countries. In Rome the Pope still presides over the procession from St. John Lateran Basilica. to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

 

The celebration of this Solemnity goes back to the thirteenth century. Pope Urban IV instituted it in 1264 for the entire Church. He wanted it to be filled with joy and accompanied by hymns and a festive procession. He asked St. Thomas Aquinas, to compose the prayers and hymns for the Mass of Corpus Christi. We still sing these hymns, the Pange Lingua on Holy Thursday during the procession from the church to the altar of repose.

 

Eucharistic processions are meant to be a joyful occasions when we profess our belief in the Real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We also proclaim that same Jesus lives within each one of us who are baptized into His Body, the Church. Processions are never meant to be triumphal rather they are to remind us of our mission to go out and share the good news with the world.

 

The feast of Corpus Christi should remind us that Jesus is still present in a special way in the Eucharist to support and nourish us, but also to empower us to go out to the world. Hopefully the words at the end of every Mass “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life” do not fall on deaf ears. There is still much to be done in our world.

 

Last year Pope Francis reminded us that “To day Jesus gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, he shares our journey – He becomes food, real food that sustains our life even at times when the going is rough, when obstacles slow down our steps. The Lord in the Eucharist makes us follow His path, that of service, of sharing, of giving – and what little we have, what little we are, if shared, becomes wealth, because the power of God, which is that of love, descends into our poverty to transform it.

Let us ask ourselves today as we adore Christ truly present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by Him? Do I let the Lord who gives Himself to me, guide me to come out more and more from my ring fenced self, to get out and be not afraid to give, to share, to love Him in others?

 

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.