Wednesday, May 30, 2018

June 3 The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
                                                          John 6:57

Last Saturday I was part of a group of parishioners at the ordination of nine men the priesthood. After mass several people shared how deeply moved they were.  Thinking that this might be a subject for “liturgical notes” I began to inquire as to what in particular moved them.

Most of the group began to speak about grandeur. They commented on the magnificence of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  One person described how it appears to rise up as you approach the city.  I recalled my heart racing and being choked up as the organ, brass quartet and tympani cued the opening procession.

For many the highlight was the ordination itself. The candidates pledged their obedience and then came one by one to kneel before Cardinal Tobin. The Cardinal invoked the Holy Spirit as he laid hands on each man consecrating him to the priesthood. Following this, each priest present laid hands on the newly ordained in what is known as the unbroken chain of the priesthood.  After the new priests were vested the Cardinal anointed their hands with chrism to prepare them to fulfill their sacred duties. 

It was the humility of the next moment that took most of us by surprise. Cardinal Tobin knelt and received a blessing from each of the newly ordained priests. As each priest blessed him, the Cardinal reached out, took and kissed their anointed hands.

One person who attended the ordination described this dualism of grandeur and humility as “heaven on earth.” 

What a fitting way to speak about the mass in general and in particular on this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

This great feast (also known as Corpus Christi) calls us to focus on two manifestations of the Body of Christ: the Holy Eucharist and the Church.

Consider how today’s music connects with and speaks to the Body of Christ:

  • The refrain to “Table of Plenty” (#310) is an invitation to come to the feast of heaven and earth. (This is one of 2 songs we will sing which were used during the weeks our children received their first holy communion.)
  • The sequence for Corpus Christi is sung after the second reading. Its was written by St. Thomas Aquinas specifically for Corpus Christi by St. Thomas Aquinas.
  • As the bread and wine to become the body of Christ are brought forward we will sing Curtis Stephan’s “Bread of Angels” (#367.) This is a contemporary setting of the traditional text: “Panis angelicus” (bread of angels.)
  • We Are One Body is an affirmation that we are united in Christ and are the body of Christ.
Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,

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