Corpus Christi, Year B
Readings at Mass are here.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
In the Gospel acclamation, John offers us a significant key to interpreting the divine Master’s words, by stating what he said of himself near Capernaum: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever” (John 6:51).
Thus we find in today’s readings the full meaning of the mystery of salvation. If the first reading taken from Exodus (cf. Exodus 24:3-8) refers us to the Old Covenant made between God and Moses through the blood of sacrificial animals, in the Letter to the Hebrews it is recalled that Christ “entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood” (9:11-15).
Today’s solemnity therefore helps us to give Christ the centrality which is his due in the divine plan for humanity, and spurs us to configure our lives more and more to him, the Eternal High Priest.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 29 May 1997)
Thus the Angelus reveals to us its Eucharistic depths. Christ, in the Sacrifice of the Altar, under the appearance of bread and wine, gives us as food his Body and Blood, which by the power of the Holy Spirit was given to him by his Mother, Mary. God the Father, choosing Mary as the Mother of his only Son, united her in a special way to the Eucharist.
Mary, teach us to understand ever more fully this great mystery of faith, so that with joy and gratitude we may always welcome the invitation of your Son: "Take this and eat it, this is my Body. Take this and drink it, this is my Blood".
"We greet you, O Bread of angels, we adore you in this Sacrament.
Hail Jesus, Son of Mary, in the Blessed Host you are true God".
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 1 June 1997)
The sacrifice of Golgotha was anticipated in the Upper Room: the death on the Cross of the Incarnate Word, the Lamb sacrificed for us, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. In Christ's pain every person's pain is redeemed; in his passion, human suffering acquires new value; in his death, our death is vanquished forever...
Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, blessed them, broke them and gave them to the Apostles to distribute to the crowd (cf. Luke 9: 16). "All", St Luke remarks, "ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces" (cf. ibid, v. 17).
This is an amazing miracle which marks in a way the beginning of a long historical process: the uninterrupted multiplication in the Church of the Bread of new life for the people of every race and culture. This sacramental ministry is entrusted to the Apostles and to their successors. And they, faithful to the divine Master's command, never cease to break and distribute the Eucharistic bread from generation to generation.
The People of God receive it with devout participation. With this Bread of life, a remedy of immortality, countless saints and martyrs were nourished and from it drew the strength to resist even harsh and prolonged sufferings. They believed in the words that Jesus once spoke in Capernaum: "I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If any one eats this bread, he will live forever" (John 6: 51).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 22 June 2000)
Christ is the Bread of salvation for man, a wayfarer and pilgrim on earth. This is why on the feast of Corpus Christi the Eucharist is carried in procession through the streets, among the homes and buildings of daily life. In the Eucharistic mystery the Risen One, in fact, has wished to continue dwelling in our midst, so that every human being can know his true name, his true face, and experience his boundless mercy.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 25 June 2000)
Christian families in particular, to whom a few days ago the Diocesan Ecclesial Convention was dedicated, draw their life from the Eucharist. Dear families of Rome! May the living presence of Christ in the Eucharist foster the grace of marriage in you and allow you to progress on the path of conjugal and family holiness. Draw from this wellspring the secret of your unity and love, imitating the example of the Blessed husband and wife, Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrochi, who began their days by partaking in the Eucharistic Banquet.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 19 June 2003)
An important source of strength in the life of Blessed Ivan Merz was, along with the Eucharist, his tender devotion to the Mother of the Lord.
At the conclusion of this liturgy, we too lift our eyes to the Virgin Mary and we join the whole Church in repeating the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel and in contemplating the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. We ask Mary to help us "to contemplate the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love" (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 1),
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 22 June 2003)
When, in adoration, we look at the consecrated Host, the sign of creation speaks to us. And so, we encounter the greatness of his gift; but we also encounter the Passion, the Cross of Jesus and his Resurrection. Through this gaze of adoration, he draws us toward himself, within his mystery, through which he wants to transform us as he transformed the Host.
The primitive Church discovered yet another symbol in the bread. The Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, a book written around the year 100, contains in its prayers the affirmation: "Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy Kingdom" (IX, 4).
Bread made of many grains contains also an event of union: the ground grain becoming bread is a process of unification. We ourselves, many as we are, must become one bread, one body, as St Paul says (cf. I Corinthians 10: 17). In this way the sign of bread becomes both hope and fulfilment.
In a very similar way the sign of wine speaks to us. However, while bread speaks of daily life, simplicity and pilgrimage, wine expresses the exquisiteness of creation: the feast of joy that God wants to offer to us at the end of time and that already now and always anticipates anew a foretaste through this sign.
But, wine also speaks of the Passion: the vine must be repeatedly pruned to be purified in this way; the grapes must mature with the sun and the rain and must be pressed: only through this passion does a fine wine mature.
On the feast of Corpus Christi we especially look at the sign of bread. It reminds us of the pilgrimage of Israel during the 40 years in the desert. The Host is our manna whereby the Lord nourishes us - it is truly the bread of heaven, through which he gives himself.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 15 June 2006)
Indeed, the Eucharist is the "treasure" of the Church, the precious heritage that her Lord has left to her. And the Church preserves it with the greatest care, celebrating it daily in Holy Mass, adoring it in churches and chapels, administering it to the sick, and as viaticum to those who are on their last journey.
However, this treasure that is destined for the baptized, does not exhaust its radius of action in the context of the Church: the Eucharist is the Lord Jesus who gives himself "for the life of the world" (John 6: 51). In every time and in every place, he wants to meet human beings and bring them the life of God. And this is not all. The Eucharist also has a cosmic property: the transformation of the bread and the wine into Christ's Body and Blood is in fact the principle of the divinization of creation itself.
For this reason, the Feast of Corpus Christi is characterized particularly by the tradition of carrying the Most Holy Sacrament in procession, an act full of meaning. By carrying the Eucharist through the streets and squares, we desire to immerse the Bread come down from Heaven in our daily lives. We want Jesus to walk where we walk, to live where we live. Our world, our existence, must become his temple.
On this feast day, the Christian Community proclaims that the Eucharist is its all, its very life, the source of life that triumphs over death. From communion with Christ in the Eucharist flows the charity that transforms our life and supports us all on our journey towards the heavenly Homeland. For this reason the liturgy makes us sing "Good Shepherd, true Bread.... You who know all things, who can do all things, who nourish us while on earth, lead your brethren to the heavenly banquet in the glory of your Saints".
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 18 June 2006)
In truth, Israel showed immediately by making the golden calf that it was incapable of staying faithful to this promise and thus to the divine Covenant, which indeed it subsequently violated all too often, adapting to its heart of stone the Law that should have taught it the way of life. However, the Lord did not fail to keep his promise and, through the prophets, sought to recall the inner dimension of the Covenant and announced that he would write a new law upon the hearts of his faithful (cf. Jeremiah 31: 33), transforming them with the gift of the Spirit (cf. Ezekiel 36: 25-27). And it was during the Last Supper that he made this new Covenant with his disciples and humanity, confirming it not with animal sacrifices as had happened in the past, but indeed with his own Blood, which became the "Blood of the New Covenant". Thus he based it on his own obedience, stronger, as I said, than all our sins.
This is clearly highlighted in the Second Reading, taken from the Letter to the Hebrews, in which the sacred author declares that Jesus is the "mediator of a new covenant" (9: 15). He became so through his blood, or, more exactly, through the gift of himself, which gives full value to the outpouring of his blood. On the Cross, Jesus is at the same time victim and priest: a victim worthy of God because he was unblemished, and a High Priest who offers himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and intercedes for the whole of humanity. The Cross is therefore a mystery of love and of salvation which cleanses us as the Letter to the Hebrews states from "dead works", that is, from sins, and sanctifies us by engraving the New Covenant upon our hearts. The Eucharist, making present the sacrifice of the Cross, renders us capable of living communion with God faithfully.
…When, in a little while, we recite the Our Father, the prayer par excellence, we will say: "Give us this day our daily bread", thinking of course of the bread of each day for us and for all peoples. But this request contains something deeper. The Greek word epioúsios, that we translate as "daily", could also allude to the "super-stantial" bread, the bread "of the world to come". Some Fathers of the Church saw this as a reference to the Eucharist, the bread of eternal life, the new world, that is already given to us in Holy Mass, so that from this moment the future world may begin within us. With the Eucharist, therefore, Heaven comes down to earth, the future of God enters the present and it is as though time were embraced by divine eternity.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 11 June 2009)
Corpus Christi, the feast of the Eucharist in which the Sacrament of the Body of the Lord is solemnly carried in procession, is being celebrated today in various countries, including Italy. What does this feast day mean to us? It does not make us think of the liturgical aspect alone; actually Corpus Christi is a day that involves the cosmic dimension, the heavens and the earth. It calls to mind first of all at least in our hemisphere this season which is so beautiful and fragrant, in which Spring is already turning into Summer, the sun is high in the sky and the wheat is ripening in the fields. The Church's feasts like the Jewish feasts are associated with the phases of the solar year, the sowing and the reaping. This is particularly evident in today's Solemnity, at the heart of which is the sign of bread, a fruit of the earth and of Heaven. The Eucharistic Bread is thus a visible sign of the One in whom Heaven and earth, God and man, became one. And this shows that the relationship with the seasons is not something merely external to the liturgical year…
This feast speaks to us in a unique and special way of divine love, of what it is and of what it does. It tells us, for example, that it is regenerated in self-giving, that it is received in self-giving, that it is never lacking nor can it be consumed as a hymn by St Thomas Aquinas sings: "nec sumptus consumitur". Love transforms all things and we therefore understand that the centre of today's Feast of Corpus Christi is the mystery of transubstantiation, a sign of Jesus Christ who transforms the world. Looking at him and worshipping him, we say: "yes, love exists and because it exists things can change for the better and we can hope". It is hope that comes from Christ's love which gives us the strength to live and to deal with difficulties. For this reason let us sing as we carry the Most Holy Sacrament in procession; let us sing and praise God who revealed himself concealing himself in the sign of the Bread broken. We are all in need of this Bread, as the journey to freedom, justice and peace is long and difficult.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 14 June 2009)
Of course, this evaluation of the liturgical assembly in which the Lord works his mystery of communion and brings it about still applies; but it must be put back into the proper balance. In fact — as often happens — in order to emphasize one aspect one ends by sacrificing another. In this case the correct accentuation of the celebration of the Eucharist has been to the detriment of adoration as an act of faith and prayer addressed to the Lord Jesus, really present in the Sacrament of the Altar.
This imbalance has also had repercussions on the spiritual life of the faithful. In fact, by concentrating the entire relationship with the Eucharistic Jesus in the sole moment of Holy Mass one risks emptying the rest of existential time and space of his presence. This makes ever less perceptible the meaning of Jesus’ constant presence in our midst and with us, a presence that is tangible, close, in our homes, as the “beating Heart” of the city, of the country, and of the area, with its various expressions and activities. The sacrament of Christ’s Charity must permeate the whole of daily life.
Actually it is wrong to set celebration and adoration against each other, as if they were competing. Exactly the opposite is true: worship of the Blessed Sacrament is, as it were, the spiritual “context” in which the community can celebrate the Eucharist well and in truth. Only if it is preceded, accompanied and followed by this inner attitude of faith and adoration can the liturgical action express its full meaning and value. The encounter with Jesus in Holy Mass is truly and fully brought about when the community can recognize that in the Sacrament he dwells in his house, waits for us, invites us to his table, then, after the assembly is dismissed, stays with us, with his discreet and silent presence, and accompanies us with his intercession, continuing to gather our spiritual sacrifices and offer them to the Father.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 7 June 2012)
The feast of Corpus Christi is a great act of public worship of the Eucharist, the Sacrament in which the Lord also remains present after the moment of the celebration, to stay with us always, in the passing of the hours and days. St Justin, who left us one of the most ancient testimonies of the Eucharistic liturgy, stated that after the distribution of Communion to those present the deacons took the consecrated bread to the absent (cf. Apologia, 1 65)…
In addition, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord presents to us once again the value of Eucharistic adoration. The Servant of God Paul VI recalled that the Catholic Church professes worship of the Eucharist “both during Mass and outside of it, by taking the greatest possible care of consecrated Hosts, by exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and by carrying them about in processions to the joy of great numbers of the people” (Encyclical Mysterium Fidei, n. 56).
The prayer of adoration can be personal, pausing in recollection before the tabernacle, or can be made as a community, also with Psalms and hymns, but always giving priority to silence in which to listen inwardly to the Lord who is alive and present in the Sacrament.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 10 June 2012)
We have no part in him when we are not docile to the Word of the Lord, when we do not live in fraternity among ourselves, when we compete for first place — climbers — when we do not find the courage to witness to charity, when we are incapable of offering hope. This is when we have no part in him. The Eucharist enables us to abide in him, for it is the bond which unites us to him, it is the fulfillment of the Covenant, the living sign of the love of Christ who humbled and lowered himself in order that we remain united. Participating in the Eucharist and being nourished of him, we are included in a journey which admits no division. Christ present in our midst, in the sign of the bread and wine, demands that the power of love overcome every laceration, and at the same time that it also become communion with the poorest, support for the weak, fraternal attention to those who have difficulty in bearing the weight of daily life, and are in danger of losing their faith.
…Thus the Eucharist fulfils the Covenant which sanctifies us, purifies us and unites us in worthy communion with God. Thus we learn that the Eucharist is not a prize for the good, but is strength for the weak, for sinners. It is forgiveness, it is the Viaticum that helps us to move forward, to walk.
And let us not forget: “The body of Christ is the bond which unites you to him: eat it, or you will have no part in him. The blood is the price he paid for your redemption: drink it, lest you despair of your sinfulness”.
Pope Francis I (Homily, 4 June 2015)
The Last Supper represents the culmination of Christ’s entire life. It is not only the anticipation of his sacrifice which will be rendered on the Cross, but also the synthesis of a life offered for the salvation of the whole of humanity. Therefore, it is not enough to state that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, but one must see in it the presence of a life given and partake in it. When we take and eat that Bread, we are associated into the life of Jesus, we enter into communion with Him, we commit to achieve communion among ourselves, to transform our life into a gift, especially to the poorest.
Today’s feast evokes this message of solidarity and urges us to welcome the intimate invitation to conversion and to service, love and forgiveness. It urges us to become, with our life, imitators of that which we celebrate in the Liturgy. The Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is the same One who comes to us in the everyday happenings; He is in the poor person who holds out his hand, in the suffering one who begs for help, in the brother or sister who asks for our availability and awaits our welcome. He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus or salvation, who does not have faith. He is in every human being, even the smallest and the defenceless.
The Eucharist, source of love for the life of the Church, is the school of charity and solidarity. Those who are nourished by the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent to those who do not have their daily bread. Today, we know it is an ever more serious problem.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 7 June 2015)
Note: This webpage has many hyperlinks to the Vatican Webpage. The above extracts were compiled for your easy reading.
This Publication is aimed to encourage all of Goodwill around the World. It is not for business or profit purposes but it is our way to thank our Creator for His continuous blessings!
Compiled on 3 & 10 June 2018