Daily Email

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Corpus Christi 2010

The Body and Blood of Christ June 6, 2010

The feast of Corpus Christi began in Christendom during the late 13th and early 14th centuries to honor the institution of the Eucharist in a more joyful time than Holy Thursday when the Passion of the Lord is the predominant focus. In the mid-14th century, grand processions accompanied the feast when both religious and civic officials sought the blessings that the real presence of the Blessed Sacrament would provide. Farms, fields, houses and business were blessed during these processions to provide good fortune while Christians would receive indulgences. Today only a few churches organize ceremonial processions and the feast has been more universally recognized as the Body and the Blood of Christ – bringing significance to the saving nature of the chalice and blood.

Eucharistic elements appear in each of our readings today. In gratitude for the blessing of Melchizedek over the bread and wine, Abram provides a tenth of all his endeavors for the priest. Paul passes onto us in 1 Corinthians 11 that Jesus blesses the cup with bread that is to be broken while further commanding us to remember him when we celebrate the meal. Jesus asks us to reach into our resources and to provide for those who are hungry in Luke’s account of the multiplication of the five loaves and two fish. Many people will claim that the true miracle is that the 5,000 men transcended their self-preserving nature to provide for others. While this is possible, we have to keep our attention focused on the nourishing self-giving aspect of Jesus. It is from him that we receive our nourishment. While the people who were cured and listened to Jesus were able to eat plenty, they decided to remain with him that evening as they recognized that he is the source of all that sustains us.

We cannot underestimate the role we play. Jesus tells the disciples, “Give them some food yourselves” and Paul tells us that he is freely handing on what he has freely received. We have received a command to feed one another and to pass on our faith. Both are extremely difficult to do within today’s climates. We constantly have to ask ourselves ‘who is my neighbor’ and ‘to whom do I assist’ in a world that is wracked with devastating calamities every week. We just have too many mouths to feed and we come up with answers just like the disciples. No, Jesus will send us back so we can evaluate our own resources – spiritual and otherwise – so we can feed others and bring them to his heart. It is ironic that in a time in the world where we can all benefit from the Eucharistic nourishment, our church attendance is dramatically low. Are we freely and generously passing on what we have been freely handed? Give them something to eat.

Quote for the Week

Prayer to the Sacred Heart by Saint Francis De Sales, founder of the Salesian Orders.

May Thy Heart dwell always in our hearts!
May Thy Blood ever flow in the veins of our souls!
O sun of our hearts, Thou givest life to all things by the rays of Thy goodness!
I will not go until Thy Heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!
May the Heart of Jesus be the King of my heart!
Blessed be God. Amen.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: We meet the prophet Elijah who learns to trust in God’s providence by waiting at the Wadi Cherith while bread and meat is brought to him each day. He was commanded by the Lord to go to Zarephath where he met a starving widow who served him her last morsel of food. For this, Elijah stayed for a year and the woman’s food supplies never ran out. The sole Elijah sets us a competition with the 450 prophets of Baal and the Lord God answered Elijah’s offering by sending fire to the sacrifice at the altar. The people fell prostrate and worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. During Elijah’s next prayer in front of Ahab, he asked for rains and God sent it. Elijah then sets out and comes to meet Elisha who leaves his fields to come follow Elijah as his attendant.

Gospel: Matthew’s Beatitudes begin the Sermon on the Mount by describing the present state of the poor people who have come to hear the words of Jesus while also describing the conditions for discipleship. All followers are called to be special examples (salt, light) for others through their moral choices, and he urges them to respect, uphold, and promote the fulfillment of the law, which will bring about the day of the Lord. One’s righteousness is to communicate lasting impressions to others; one’s desire to reconcile with a brother will be a condition for entering into the family of God.

Saints of the Week

Wednesday: Ephrem, deacon and doctor, was from the area now known as Iraq. He wrote scriptural commentaries after the fall of the Persians in 363 and is one of the first to evangelize through music – writing many hymns for public worship. He spent most of his time in a cave at Edessa.

Friday: The Sacred Heart of Jesus has a long-standing devotion traced back to the Middle Ages that shows the three-fold (human, spiritual, divine) love contained within the heart of Jesus. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart – a tradition that began with the Jesuits. Claude La Colombiere, S.J., as a spiritual director to Margaret Mary Alocoque, established the feast as a liturgical celebration in the 17th century.

Saturday: The Immaculate Heart of Mary falls the day after the Sacred Heart of Jesus feast to recognize Mary’s love for us as the Mother of God. Just as the world has been consecrated to the sacred heart of Jesus, similar devotions were made to Mary’s protection by various popes and religious leaders.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Jun 6, 1610. At the funeral of Henry IV in Paris, two priests preaching in the Churches of St Eustace and St Gervase denounced the Jesuits as accomplices in his death. This was due primarily to the book De Rege of Father Mariana.
• Jun 7, 1556. Peter Canisius becomes the first provincial superior of the newly constituted Province of Upper Germany.
• Jun 8, 1889. Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins died at the age of 44 in Dublin. His final words were "I am so happy, so happy." He had written "I wish that my pieces could at some time become known but in some spontaneous way ... and without my forcing."
• Jun 9, 1597. The death of Blessed Jose de Ancieta, Brazil's most famous missionary and the founder of the cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.
• Jun 10, 1537. Ignatius and his companions were given minor orders at the house of Bishop Vincenzo Negusanti in Venice, Italy.
• Jun 11, 1742. The Chinese and Malabar Rites were forbidden by Pope Benedict XIV; persecution broke out at once in China.
• Jun 12, 1928. Fr. General Ledochowski responded negatively to the idea of intercollegiate sports at Jesuit colleges because he feared the loss of study time and the amount of travel involved.

Our Ecological Concerns

Many in the U.S. and Mexico are terribly concerned about the oil spill caused by oil giant, BP. The spill has gone on for far too long without any solutions seemingly in place. We wonder how companies like this can drill without any relevant safeguards in place. With the many steps we have taken forward to make our world more eco-friendly, spills like this one seem to put us far back in our efforts. We need solutions. I pray that such a solution comes quickly as our natural habits are threatened with harmful pollution.

No comments:

Post a Comment