The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ this weekend. This Eucharistic feast has its origins in the 13th Century in a convent in Belgium. A holy nun, Sister Juliana, who had great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, had a vision in which she saw the moon full and bright except for one spot which had a shadow. Then the meaning of the vision was revealed to her: the moon represented the liturgical year and the shadow symbolized a missing feast of the Blessed Sacrament. Juliana spoke to her Confessor about what she had seen. In 1264 the Bishop of Liège convoked a synod and instituted the feast of Corpus Christi in his diocese. In 1264 Pope Urban IV established the Feast of Corpus Christi on the Church’s universal calendar. In 1849, Pope Pius IX added the Feast of the Precious Blood, celebrated on July 1. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, Corpus Christi was celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. In several parts of the world, it became a holy day of obligation. Following the Second Vatican Council, the two feasts (Corpus Christi and the Precious Blood) were combined into one solemnity in honor of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In the United States, this solemnity is celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday. Since Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Catholic Christians, it is most appropriate to celebrate this solemnity on a Sunday, with full, active and conscious participation of the faithful, along with festive music, and a full complement of liturgical ministries.
The Gospel for this Sunday’s liturgy is taken from Luke. It is the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. There are some interesting lines in the Gospel passage. One is: “Give them some food yourselves.” Jesus says this to the disciples who are concerned about the needs of the crowd gathered and who want Jesus to dismiss them so they can find lodging and provisions. Another interesting line appears after the feeding of five thousand men : “And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.” [The number twelve is fascinating in that there were twelve disciples/apostles who spent day and night with Jesus. Was he giving each of them a tangible sign on how to continue to feed his people?] The Gospel is about compassion, but also about abundance. It moves from the tangible level of feeding people to the mystery of God’s abundance and “excess.” It moves from the disciples’ concern about feeding the crowd to their being the “leftover fragments” that nourish the hungry who turn to God to be satisfied, not only in body, but in soul as well. This Gospel makes us aware of God’s providence and graciousness, his “super-abundance” of love and care for us. We are invited to share God’s abundance by authentically living up to who we are called to be, a Eucharistic People, the Body of Christ. As we reflect upon today’s Gospel and Solemnity, let us ask ourselves: how do we literally and figuratively feed others with the gift of the Eucharist?
We welcome Father Bill Taylor this weekend! It is great to have him present to celebrate Mass with us! I know you will give him a warm welcome. Father Bill is covering for Father Jim who has been on Mackinac Island this past week attending the Knights of Columbus State Convention.
As you know, Monday is a holiday. Thus, the Parish Office is closed and there are no liturgies scheduled at the parish. Please see the Memorial Day Mass schedule at the various cemeteries in our diocese listed in today’s bulletin.
During the months of June, July, and August, there will be no Morning Prayer on Mondays. Please join us for evening Mass this Tuesday at 6:30 PM at the Saint Matthew Church site.
As the summer months approach, there is an unusual shortage of liturgical ministers this year. This is due to vacations, illness, surgeries, recovery time, and other unforeseen circumstances. Please let Alex know of your availability or non-availability this summer. In preparing the liturgical minister schedule, some ministers may have to be scheduled a couple of times a month.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ