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.
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We can celebrate this great solemnity, not by thinking about or arguing about concepts about how the Trinity works, but by opening our hearts to a deeper relationship with our God, who is love. We can have a relationship with each of the Persons in the Trinity.
Certainly the God who made us can fill us with grateful love. All of creation can give glory to God for the wonders which surround us. As we reflect on the gift of life itself, we may be tempted to feel overwhelmed with life’s struggles. Today we can celebrate a merciful and faithful Father who never forgets that we are his gift of life for the world and for all eternity. Today is a great day to speak to our Father and Creator and to give thanks and praise. A step beyond acknowledging the relationship and giving thanks is to rest in and enjoy our Father’s embrace. There can be nothing more consoling and healing, however we want to imagine it and relish in it. This embrace allows us to surrender our doubts and fears, our small-scoped wants and needs, even our wounds, our judgments and our angers.
Jesus is God’s love who has become one with us in our journey in the flesh on this earth. We can unpack and enjoy that today. We simply are not able to say that God doesn’t understand what it is to be human. Being human, is one of the ways God is for us and with us. And, today we can celebrate the life, death and resurrection gift that Jesus continues to be for us. We can let ourselves long to know him better, to fall in love with our brother and saviour. And we can ask him for the grace to be like him in laying down our lives for others. Being with him will draw us into being more deeply in love with his way of loving those most in need and it will certainly offer us the deepening desire and freedom to love the same way.
Jesus promised that he would not leave us orphans. As we celebrated last weekend, the Father and the Son sent us the Holy Spirit to gather us in this Trinity of love. We all know that we can orphan ourselves, by clinging to independance and the illusion of “freedom” and identifying ourselves with what we accomplish and what we possess. The spirit which is evil loves to divide and scatter us. But the Holy Spirit offers gifts to heal our wounds and bring us a peace that world’s attractions can’t give. Today we can celebrate the work of the Spirit within us and among us. Sometimes, it is a small movement, a simple awareness, a conviction which troubles us, or an inner peace we can count on. We can let the Spirit speak the words, the feelings, the deep deisres we can’t get out and express. We can let the Spirit help us discern small and great choices we make each day – the choices identified by mercy and reconciliation, care for those on the margins, and a deep peace which acknowledges that God is the Father of us all and that Jesus is the Lord. We can let the Spirit transform us from mediocrity to being on fire, allowing our hearts to be part of the Spirit’s work of renewing the face of the earth.
Trinity Sunday can be a day of celebration, of intimate conversation with our three-personed God, who is love. It can be a day of gifts which bring us closer to our origin, our salvation and our life together in community for others.
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, or Trinity Sunday.
The fundamental dogma, on which everything in Christianity is based, is that of the Blessed Trinity in whose name all Christians are baptized. The feast of the Blessed Trinity needs to be understood and celebrated as a prolongation of the mysteries of Christ and as the solemn expression of our faith in this triune life of the Divine Persons, to which we have been given access by Baptism and by the Redemption won for us by Christ. Only in heaven shall we properly understand what it means, in union with Christ, to share as sons in the very life of God.
The dogma of faith which forms the object of the feast is this: There is one God and in this one God there are three Divine Persons; the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three Gods, but one, eternal, incomprehensible God! The Father is not more God than the Son, neither is the Son more God than the Holy Spirit. The Father is the first Divine Person; the Son is the second Divine Person, begotten from the nature of the Father from eternity; the Holy Spirit is the third Divine Person, proceeding from the Father and the Son. No mortal can fully fathom this sublime truth. But I submit humbly and say: Lord, I believe, help my weak faith.
The Father sent His Son to earth, for “God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son.” The Father called us to the faith. The Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, became man and died for us. He redeemed us and made us children of God. He ever remains the liturgist par excellence to whom we are united in all sacred functions. After Christ’s ascension the Holy Spirit, however, became our Teacher, our Leader, our Guide, our Consoler.
The feast of the Most Holy Trinity may well be regarded as the Church’s Te Deum of gratitude over all the blessings of the Christmas and Easter seasons; for this mystery is a synthesis of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. This feast, which falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost, should make us mindful that actually every Sunday is devoted to the honour of the Most Holy Trinity, that every Sunday is sanctified and consecrated to the triune God. Sunday after Sunday we should recall in a spirit of gratitude the gifts which the Blessed Trinity is bestowing upon us. The Father created and predestined us; on the first day of the week He began the work of creation. The Son redeemed us; Sunday is the “Day of the Lord,” the day of His resurrection. The Holy Spirit sanctified us, made us His temple; on Sunday the Holy Spirit descended upon the infant Church. Sunday, therefore, is the day of the Most Holy Trinity.
– Excerpted from Pius Parsch, The Church’s Year of Grace
Note that today is also the Feast of the Visitation which is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary is the feast celebrating the appearance of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, his announcement that she has been chosen to conceive and become the mother of Jesus, Our Lord, the Son of God, and Mary’s fiat, her willing acceptance of God’s holy plan. It is celebrated on 25 March.
A tradition, which has come down from the apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March (nine months before Christmas). It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her, and asked her, in the name of the blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God.
Things to do on this day:
Remember the importance that God places on human life, including the unborn children. God became an infant himself.
Since this is a solemnity, our Lenten penance obligations are lifted. We can celebrate this feast with some special food, or a dessert.
Read Luke 1:26-38.
O God, who willed that your Word should take on the reality of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.