Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Most Holy Solemnity of the Body & Blood of Christ

What an awesome, wonderful feast day today is. In February 2002, my life was changed by reading about the Body and Blood of Christ in the sixth chapter of St. John's gospel. I'll probably wonder for the rest of my life why the Holy Spirit chose to illuminate my understanding on that day; I'd been a Christian for a long time, but there were certainly those who were more faithful; definitely those who were better Bible scholars. There were -- are -- others I know who are more deserving, yet He chose me.

"Lord, I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but only say the word and I will be healed..."

Have a look at this silent video of the Corpus Christi procession at the St. Louis Cathedral on July 18, 2006. It is a really beautiful procession, with a group of priests carrying the Blessed Sacrament under the canopy, followed by the Knights of Columbus with their sabers and their feathery hats. followed by the biggest number of altar boys I have ever seen in one place. And none of them appear to be poking their neighbors or deliberately stepping on one another's vestment hems. The priests, Knights and altar boys are followed by the entire congregation, which is big enough to slow down traffic on the city streets.

Our parish is still very young, so our Corpus Christi procession last year went around the parking lot and out into the grass, where all the ladies tried very hard not to turn their ankles on the bumpy lawn while wearing shoes unsuitable for processing. If we had taken to the streets, we would have attracted the attention of bored cows and probably have come near to being run down by a tractor.

I included the Mass readings in this post because they are so beautiful in their celebration of Jesus in the Eucharist, the Source and summit of our faith.

Reading 1
Genesis 14:18-20

In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine,
and being a priest of God Most High,
he blessed Abram with these words:
"Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
the creator of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your foes into your hand."
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 110:1,2,3,4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Reading 2
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Luke 9:11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
"Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here."
He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves."
They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people."
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
"Have them sit down in groups of about fifty."
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.

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