Lord, I hope in you: I adore you, I love you, increase my faith. Be the support of my weakness: You, who have remained defenseless in the Eucharist so as to be the remedy for the weakness of your creatures.
Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things, makes you happy. The greatest prayer of thanks is the “Eucharist” (“thanksgiving” in Greek) of Jesus, in which he takes bread and wine so as to offer in them to God all of creation, transformed. Whenever Christians give thanks, they are joining in Jesus’ great prayer of thanksgiving. For we, too, are transformed and redeemed by Jesus, and so from the depths of our hearts we can be grateful and tell God this in a variety of ways.
“The mass is long”, you say, and I add: “Because your love is short.” – St Josemaria, The Way
The holy Mass brings us face to face with one of the central mysteries of our faith, because it is the gift of the Blessed Trinity to the Church. It is because of this that we can consider Mass as the centre and the source of a Christian’s spiritual life.
It is the aim of all the sacrements (cf St thomas, St. Th. III, q.65 a.3). The life of grace, into which we are brought by baptism, and which is increased and strengthened by confirmation, grows to its fullness in the Mass. “When we participate in the Eucharist,” writes St Cyril of Jerusalem, “we are made spiritual by the divinizing action of the Holy Spirit, who not only makes us share in Christ’s life, as in baptism, but makes us entirely Christ-like, incorporating us into the fullness of Christ Jesus” (Catechisis, 22,3).
This pouring out of the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ and makes us acknowledge that we are children of God. The Paraclete, who is Love, teaches us to saturate our life with the virtue of charity. Thus consummati in unum: “made one with Christ” (John 17:23), we can be among men what the Eucharist is for us, in the words of St Augustine: “a sign of unity, a bond of love” (In Ioannis Evangelium tractatus, 26,13).
– St Josemaria, Christ is Passing
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the treasure of graces You have given the Church for our salvation and sanctification. Thank You for the graces of Your Sacraments, culminating in the Holy Eucharist; for the Communion of Saints with Our Blessed Mother as Queen of all Saints; for the shepherds You have provided for us, with our chief shepherd, the Successor of Peter. All these treasures of grace are a gift of Your merciful love.
The important thing is that we should love the Mass and make it the centre of our day. If we attend Mass well, surely we are likely to think about our Lord during the rest of the day, wanting to be always in his presence, ready to work as he worked and love as he loved. And so we learn to thank our Lord for his kindness in not limiting his presence to the time of the sacrifice of the altar. He has decided to stay with us in the host which is reserved in the tabernacle.
(…) [W]e have to discover our Lord in our ordinary everyday activity. (…) We are not without defects; we make mistakes and commit sins. But God is with us and we must make ourselves ready to be used by him, so that he can continue to walk among men.
Let us ask our Lord then to make us souls devoted to the blessed Eucharist, so that our relationship with him brings forth joy and serenity and a desire for justice. In this way we will make it easier for others to recognize Christ; we will put Christ at the centre of all human activities. And Jesus’ promise will be fulfilled: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
– St Josemaria, Christ is passing
Today is Corpus Christi Sunday (Corpus Christi is Latin for Body of Christ), the solemn commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist. It s an act of homage and gratitude to Christ, who by instituting the Holy Eucharist gave to the Church her greatest treasure. Holy Thursday, assuredly, marks the anniversary of the institution, but the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion that very night suppresses the rejoicing proper to the occasion. Today’s observance, therefore, accents the joyous aspect of Holy Thursday.
Note that the feast is liturgically celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (which was last Thursday), but where it isn’t observed as a holy day, like in Canada and USA, it is assigned to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday. A lot of communities hold Eucharistic processions on this feast. A notable Eucharistic procession is the one presided by the Pope each year in Rome where it begins at the Archbasilica of St John Lateran and makes its way to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where it concludes with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The liturgical solemnity of Corpus Christi celebrates the tradition and belief in the Body and Blood of Christ and his Real Presence in the Euchrist.
Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced earlier at Capernaum – giving his disciples his body and his blood (Jon 6:51-58). Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of God’s kingdom.
This is the most significant meal of Jesus and the most important occasion of his breaking of bread. In this meal Jesus identifies the bread as his body and the cup as his blood. When the Lord Jesus commands his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites us to take his life into the very center of our being (John 6:53). That life which he offers is the very life of God himself. Jesus’ death on the cross, his gift of his body and blood in the Supper, and his promise to dine again with his disciples when the kingdom of God comes in all its fullness are inseparably linked.
Jesus instructed his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me”. These words establish every Lord’s Supper of Eucharist as a “remembrance” of Jesus’ atoning death, his resurrection, and his promise to return again. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Our celebration of the Lord’s Supper anticipates the final day when the Lord Jesus will feast anew with his disciples in the heavenly marriage feast of the Lamb and his Bride. Do you know the joy of the drinking Christ’s cup and tasting the bread of his Table in sincerity?
Mark ties the last supper meal with Jesus’ death and the coming of God’s kingdom. Jesus transforms the passover of the old covenant into the meal of the “new covenant in my blood”.
In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator as the giver and sustainer of life. Melchizedek, who was both a priest and king (Genesis 14;18, Hebrews 7:1-4), offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. His offering prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king (Hebrews 7:26; 9:11; 10:12). The remembrance of the manna in the wilderness recalled to the people of Israel that they live – not by earthly bread alone – but by the bread of the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).
The unleavened bread at Passover and the miraculous manna in the desert are the pledge of God’s faithfulness to his promises. The “cup of blessing” at the end of the Jewish passover meal points to the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Jesus gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup when he instituted the “Lord’s Supper” or “Eucharist”. He speaks of the presence of his body and blood in this new meal. When at the Last Supper Jesus described his blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28), he was explaining his coming crucifixion as a sacrifice for sins. His death on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice of the paschal lamb. That is why John the Baptist called him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus made himself an offering and sacrifice, a gift that was truly pleasing to the Father. He offered himself without blemish to God (Hebrews 9:14) and gave himself as a sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2). This meal was a memorial of his death and resurrection,
When we receive from the Lord’s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood. Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 A.D.) calls it the “one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ” (Ad Eph. 20,2). This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and strength for our journey heavenward. When you approach the Table of the Lord, what do you expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for your soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the “bread of life”?
“Lord Jesus, you nourish and sustain us with your very own presence and life. You are the “Bread of life” and the “Cup of Salvation”. May I always hunger for you and be satisfied in you alone.”