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Praying with St. John Paul II on Corpus Christi

June 3, 2018

On the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (often called by its Latin name, Corpus Christi), the centuries-long tradition of the Church has been to take our faith literally out into the streets:  That is, to display to the world the greatest gift and treasure the Church has and can ever have: the very Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We will be participating in that ancient tradition here at O.L. Victory (in a modest way), when we process with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance (golden vessel to display the Sacred Host) through the parish grounds after the 11:00 a.m. Mass.  I am reminded of St. Matthew’s Gospel: “Neither do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the household.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in Heaven.”  The Eucharist is Christ Himself, the Light of the World, and we should be proud to bring this Light to the World, even to non-believers, as a way to give glory to God.

I have written before about the Holy Name procession where the men of the west side Holy Name Society bring Him to the streets of downtown and Over the Rhine, so desperately in need of the Lord’s light.  But we also need that light right here in the parish, and to be reminded, even in the midst of all the busy-ness of our end-of-school-year activities, just why the parish exists: primarily to feed her people with the holy sacrifice of the Mass and the Body and Blood of Jesus.

On this Corpus Christi day, I wanted to share a few thoughts from the late and great St. John Paul II, from his reflection to the Roman people on Corpus Christi 2002.  He was certainly a Pope who did a great deal to renew the love of Christians for the gift of the Eucharist:

“Today we are celebrating a solemn feast that expresses the awesome wonder of the People of God: a wonder filled with gratitude for the gift of the Eucharist. In the Sacrament of the Altar, Jesus wanted to perpetuate His living presence in our midst in the same form in which He gave Himself to the Apostles in the Upper Room. He left to us what He did at the Last Supper and we faithfully renew His action.

“Obedient to His command, we consecrate the Bread and wine, our sacrifice of salvation.. Above all, we renew the memorial of Christ's Passover.  Days, years and centuries go by, but this most holy act in which Jesus condensed His entire Gospel of love does not pass away. He never ceases to offer Himself, the Lamb immolated [sacrificed] and risen, for the salvation of the world. With this memorial the Church responds to the command of God's Word.

“This People has need of the Eucharist. Indeed, it is the Eucharist that makes the People a missionary Church. But is it possible without priests, who renew the Eucharistic mystery?   This is why, on this solemn day, I invite you to pray for [our priests and more priestly vocations.]” {As an aside, I would add that today would be a great day to pray for Cincinnati’s four newest priests: Fathers Jarred Kohn, Jacob Willig, Andy Smith, and Craig Best, just ordained two weeks ago}.

“We adore You, our Redeemer who became incarnate in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary.  We give you thanks, Lord, for your Eucharistic presence in the world. For us You accepted suffering and on the cross You manifested Your love for all humanity to the very end. We adore You, daily viaticum [food for the journey] for us, all pilgrims on earth.

"You who know and can do all things, who nourish us on earth, lead Your brothers and sisters to the table of heaven to be fellow heirs and guests with Your saints forever.  Amen.”

 

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