Like Ascension “Thursday” the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) moved from a Thursday to a Sunday celebration in the USA. The major reason was to facilitate its celebration among the laity. Many Catholic countries had the holiday last Thursday (May 31st).
The mystery of the Eucharist is lifted from the somberness of Holy Thursday and re-celebrated on this joyous occasion with processions, fireworks, and first communions. Itis a public affirmation of the True Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed acrament. The Catholic, Orthodox and Apostolic Churches adhere to this basic doctrine.
The acts of consecration at Mass change forever the substances of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This is not just symbolic. It is not just for the occasion. Our faith tradition has developed the practical use of Tabernacles to preserve and protect the Body of Christ between Masses. This allows the Sacrament to be available for distribution to the sick, elderly and shut-in around the parish a nd in hospitals. Sometimes, in the absence of a priest, already consecrated hosts are distributed at Communion Services by deacons or duly installed Lay Presiders. The Church seeks to provide the Eucharist at all times for the sanctification of the people. After the first two sacraments of initiation, Baptism and Confirmation, the Eucharist provides “our daily bread” for continued growth in holiness and in preparation for the promise of eternal life in heaven with God, the angels and the saints.
Our readings today draw on the oldest Old Testament images. The story of Melchizedek (“the king of the city of peace) anticipates the sacrifice and act of thanksgiving that Jesus. The Eucharist is our permanent memorial and oblation to the heavenly Father. The nvocation and power of the Holy Spirit at the epiclesis of the Mass set apart the elements of bread and wine for consecration as we use the words of Jesus. It is an act, both ancient and contemporary, that asks for our generosity in return for God’s gift of salvation in Christ. “Then Abram gave (Melchizedek) a tenth (a tithe) of everything.” Paul records in the first Letter to the Corinthians the words of Jesus regarding the institution of the Eucharist and commends it to the Church as a perpetual memorial until the Lord returns.
The miracle of the loaves and fishes anticipates the super-abundant graces and satisfaction that the Eucharist will offer to the Church as it journeys into the future, be
yond Jesus’ earthly ministry. Without the Christ we can do nothing. As food for the journey we are blessed and redeemed in the body and blood of Christ who poured out his life for us. May this special celebration remind us of God’s unmerited generosity to us in Christ!
Saint Jerome School and the Family Faith Formation program close down for the summer holiday. Even so, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults continues to stand ready to receive candidates for initiation into the Church, and/or the completion of the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). Likewise, we enter a new preparation cycle for youth Confirmation. The Confirmation team began preliminary meetings to review and prepare classes for our teenage youth this coming Fall. Please pray for them and the candidates who will join in the formation process.
Congratulations to our Saint Jerome 8th grade students as they graduate this coming Thursday, June 6th. I would like to extend this congratulations to all Saint Jerome graduates from our public elementary and high schools, and private academies in our parish.
Fr. Fernando J. Cortez, Pastor