Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, Year A, 14 June 2020
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Liturgical Colour: White.
See our Mass Readings extracts with pictures in Encouragements-439. 8-)
First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16,
Responsorial: Psalms 147:12-15, 19-20,
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 &
Lesson 28 - Holy Eucharist as Sacrament by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
Lesson 29 - Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
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Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
See our compilation with Pictures in Encouragements-439. 8-)
See our compilation with Pictures in Encouragements-440. 8-)
1. Today in Italy and in some other countries the Solemnity of Corpus Christi is being celebrated. The Christian community gathers round the Eucharist and in it adores its most precious treasure: Christ really present under the appearances of bread and wine.
The whole People of God comes out of the churches and carries the Blessed Sacrament through the streets and squares of the city. The Risen Christ walks the highways of humanity and continues to offer his "flesh" to human beings as the true "Bread of Life" (cf. John 6,48.51). Just as was the case 2,000 years ago, "this is a hard saying" (John 6,60) for human intelligence which is overwhelmed by the mystery.
To explore the fascinating depths of Christ's presence under the "signs" of the bread and the wine, faith is necessary, or rather faith animated by love. Only those who believe and love can understand something of this ineffable mystery through which God draws close to our littleness, seeks to save our weakness, and reveals himself for what he is: infinite, saving love.
2. For this reason the Eucharist is the beating heart of the community. From the very outset, ever since the primitive community of Jerusalem, Christians have gathered on the Lord's Day to renew at Mass the memorial of Christ's Death and Resurrection. "Sunday" is the day of rest and praise, but without the Eucharist it loses its real meaning. Therefore, in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, I again proposed as a primary pastoral commitment the recovery of the value of Sunday and, of the Eucharistic celebration on the day: "it is a fundamental duty, to be fulfilled not just in order to observe a precept but as something felt as essential to a truly informed and consistent Christian life" (n. 36).
3. In adoring the Eucharist we can only think with gratitude of the Virgin Mary. The famous Eucharistic hymn that we often sing suggests this: "Ave verum corpus / natum de Maria Virgine" (Hail true Body, born of the Virgin Mary). Today, let us ask the Mother of the Lord to obtain that everyone may taste the sweetness of communion with Jesus and, thanks to the Bread of eternal life, receive a share in his mystery of salvation and holiness.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 2 June 2002)
See our compilation with Pictures in Encouragements-440. 8-)
The intention of this Eucharistic Congress, which ends today, was once again to present Sunday as the "weekly Easter", an expression of the identity of the Christian community and the centre of its life and mission.
The chosen theme - "Without Sunday we cannot live" - takes us back to the year 304, when the Emperor Diocletian forbade Christians, on pain of death, from possessing the Scriptures, from gathering on Sundays to celebrate the Eucharist and from building places in which to hold their assemblies.
In Abitene, a small village in present-day Tunisia, 49 Christians were taken by surprise one Sunday while they were celebrating the Eucharist, gathered in the house of Octavius Felix, thereby defying the imperial prohibitions. They were arrested and taken to Carthage to be interrogated by the Proconsul Anulinus.
Significant among other things is the answer a certain Emeritus gave to the Proconsul who asked him why on earth they had disobeyed the Emperor's severe orders. He replied: "Sine dominico non possumus": that is, we cannot live without joining together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would lack the strength to face our daily problems and not to succumb.
After atrocious tortures, these 49 martyrs of Abitene were killed. Thus, they confirmed their faith with bloodshed. They died, but they were victorious: today we remember them in the glory of the Risen Christ.
The experience of the martyrs of Abitene is also one on which we 21st-century Christians should reflect. It is not easy for us either to live as Christians, even if we are spared such prohibitions from the emperor. From a spiritual point of view, the world in which we find ourselves, often marked by unbridled consumerism, religious indifference and a secularism closed to transcendence, can appear a desert just as "vast and terrible" (Deuteronomy 8: 15) as the one we heard about in the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy. God came to the aid of the Jewish people in difficulty in this desert with his gift of manna, to make them understand that "not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8: 3).
In today's Gospel, Jesus has explained to us, through the gift of manna, for what bread God wanted to prepare the people of the New Covenant. Alluding to the Eucharist he said: "This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and died nonetheless, the man who feeds on this bread shall live forever" (John 6: 58).
In taking flesh, the Son of God could become Bread and thus be the nourishment of his people, of us, journeying on in this world towards the promised land of Heaven.
We need this Bread to face the fatigue and weariness of our journey. Sunday, the Lord's Day, is a favourable opportunity to draw strength from him, the Lord of life.
The Sunday precept is not, therefore, an externally imposed duty, a burden on our shoulders. On the contrary, taking part in the Celebration, being nourished by the Eucharistic Bread and experiencing the communion of their brothers and sisters in Christ is a need for Christians, it is a joy; Christians can thus replenish the energy they need to continue on the journey we must make every week.
Moreover, this is not an arbitrary journey: the path God points out to us through his Word goes in the direction inscribed in man's very existence. The Word of God and reason go together. For the human being, following the Word of God, going with Christ means fulfilling oneself; losing it is equivalent to losing oneself.
The Lord does not leave us alone on this journey. He is with us; indeed, he wishes to share our destiny to the point of identifying with us.
In the Gospel discourse that we have just heard he says, "He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him" (John 6: 56). How is it possible not to rejoice in such a promise?
However, we have heard that at his first announcement, instead of rejoicing, the people started to murmur in protest: "How can he give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6: 52). To tell the truth, that attitude has frequently been repeated in the course of history. One might say that basically people do not want to have God so close, to be so easily within reach or to share so deeply in the events of their daily life.
Rather, people want him to be great and, in brief, we also often want him to be a little distant from us. Questions are then raised that are intended to show that, after all, such closeness would be impossible.
But the words that Christ spoke on that occasion have lost none of their clarity: "Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6: 53). Truly, we need a God who is close to us. In the face of the murmur of protest, Jesus might have fallen back on reassuring words: "Friends", he could have said, "do not worry! I spoke of flesh but it is only a symbol. What I mean is only a deep communion of sentiments".
But no, Jesus did not have recourse to such soothing words. He stuck to his assertion, to all his realism, even when he saw many of his disciples breaking away (cf. John 6: 66). Indeed, he showed his readiness to accept even desertion by his apostles, while not in any way changing the substance of his discourse: "Do you want to leave me too?" (John 6: 67), he asked. Thanks be to God, Peter's response was one that even we can make our own today with full awareness: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6: 68). We need a God who is close, a God who puts himself in our hands and who loves us.
Christ is truly present among us in the Eucharist. His presence is not static. It is a dynamic presence that grasps us, to make us his own, to make us assimilate him. Christ draws us to him, he makes us come out of ourselves to make us all one with him. In this way he also integrates us in the communities of brothers and sisters, and communion with the Lord is always also communion with our brothers and sisters. And we see the beauty of this communion that the Blessed Eucharist gives us.
We are touching on a further dimension of the Eucharist that I would like to point out before concluding.
The Christ whom we meet in the Sacrament is the same here in Bari as he is in Rome, here in Europe, as in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. He is the one same Christ who is present in the Eucharistic Bread of every place on earth. This means that we can encounter him only together with all others. We can only receive him in unity.
Is not this what the Apostle Paul said in the reading we have just heard? In writing to the Corinthians he said: "Because the loaf of bread is one, we, many though we are, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf" (I Corinthians 10: 17).
The consequence is clear: we cannot communicate with the Lord if we do not communicate with one another. If we want to present ourselves to him, we must also take a step towards meeting one another.
To do this we must learn the great lesson of forgiveness: we must not let the gnawings of resentment work in our soul, but must open our hearts to the magnanimity of listening to others, open our hearts to understanding them, eventually to accepting their apologies, to generously offering our own.
The Eucharist, let us repeat, is the sacrament of unity. Unfortunately, however, Christians are divided, precisely in the sacrament of unity. Sustained by the Eucharist, we must feel all the more roused to striving with all our strength for that full unity which Christ ardently desired in the Upper Room.
Precisely here in Bari, fortunate Bari, a city that preserves the bones of St Nicholas, a land of encounter and dialogue with our Christian brethren of the East, I would like to reaffirm my desire to assume as a fundamental commitment working with all my might for the re-establishment of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers.
I am aware that expressions of good will do not suffice for this. We need concrete acts that penetrate souls and shake consciences, prompting each one to that inner conversion that is the necessary condition for any progress on the path of ecumenism (cf. Message to the Universal Church, Sistine Chapel, 20 April 2005; L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 27 April, p. 3).
I ask you all to set out with determination on the path of that spiritual ecumenism which, through prayer, opens the doors to the Holy Spirit, who alone can create unity.
Dear friends who have come to Bari from various parts of Italy to celebrate this Eucharistic Congress, we must rediscover the joy of Christian Sundays. We must proudly rediscover the privilege of sharing in the Eucharist, which is the sacrament of the renewed world.
Christ's Resurrection happened on the first day of the week, which in the Scriptures is the day of the world's creation. For this very reason Sunday was considered by the early Christian community as the day on which the new world began, the one on which, with Christ's victory over death, the new creation began.
As they gathered round the Eucharistic table, the community was taking shape as a new people of God. St Ignatius of Antioch described Christians as "having attained new hope" and presented them as people "who lived in accordance with Sunday" ("iuxta dominicam viventes"). In this perspective, the Bishop of Antioch wondered: "How will we be able to live without him, the One whom the prophets so long awaited?" (Ep. ad Magnesios, 9, 1-2).
"How will we be able to live without him?". In these words of St Ignatius we hear echoing the affirmation of the martyrs of Abitene: "Sine dominico non possumus".
It is this that gives rise to our prayer: that we too, Christians of today, will rediscover an awareness of the crucial importance of the Sunday Celebration and will know how to draw from participation in the Eucharist the necessary dynamism for a new commitment to proclaiming to the world Christ "our peace" (Ephesians 2: 14). Amen!
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 29 May 2005)
See our compilation with Pictures in Encouragements-441. 8-)
Today in Italy and in various countries is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which in the Vatican and in other nations was celebrated last Thursday. It is the feast of the Eucharist, wonderful gift of Christ, who at the Last Supper wanted to leave us the memorial of his Pasch, the Sacrament of his Body and of his Blood, a pledge of his immense love for us. A week ago our gaze was drawn to the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Today we are invited to fix our gaze on the consecrated Host: it is the same God! The same Love! This is the beauty of the Christian truth: the Creator and Lord of all things makes himself a "grain of wheat" to be sown in our land, in the furrows of our history. He made himself bread to be broken, shared, eaten. He made himself our food to give us life, his same divine life. He was born in Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means "House of bread", and when he began to preach to the crowds he revealed that the Father had sent him into the world as "living bread come down from heaven", as the "bread of life".
The Eucharist is a school of charity and solidarity. The one who is nourished on the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent before the one who, even in our day, is deprived of daily bread. So many parents are barely able to obtain it for themselves and for their own children. It is an ever greater problem that the International Community has great difficulty in resolving. The Church not only prays "give us this day our daily bread", but, on the Lord's example, is committed in every way to "multiply the five loaves and the two fish" with numerous initiatives of human promotion and sharing, so that no one lacks what is necessary for life.
Dear brothers and sisters, the feast of Corpus Christi is an occasion to grow in this concrete attention to our brethren, especially the poor. May the Virgin Mary obtain this grace for us, from whom the Son of God took flesh and blood, as we repeat in a famous Eucharistic hymn, set to music by several great composers: "Ave verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine", and which concludes with the invocation: "O Iesu dulcis, o Iesu pie, o Iesu fili Mariae!". May Mary, who bearing Jesus in her womb was the first living "tabernacle" of the Eucharist, communicate to us her same faith in the holy mystery of the Body and Blood of her divine Son, so that it may truly be the centre of our life.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 25 May 2008)
See our compilation with Pictures in Encouragements-442. 8-)
Today, Corpus Christi is being celebrated in Italy and in other countries. It is the Feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord, which he instituted at the Last Supper and which is the Church’s most precious treasure. The Eucharist is, as it were, the beating heart that gives life to the whole mystical body of the Church: a social organism wholly based on the spiritual yet concrete link with Christ. As the Apostle Paul said: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
Without the Eucharist the Church quite simply would not exist. Indeed, it is the Eucharist which makes a human community into a mystery of communion that can bring God to the world and the world to God. The Holy Spirit, who transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, also transforms whoever receives it with faith into a member of the body of Christ so that the Church is truly the sacrament of unity, of human beings with God and among themselves.
In an ever more individualistic culture, such as the one in which we are immersed in western society and which tends to spread throughout the world, the Eucharist constitutes a sort of “antidote” that works in the minds and hearts of believers and continually sows in them the logic of communion, service and sharing, in short, the logic of the Gospel. The first Christians in Jerusalem were a visible sign of this new lifestyle, because they lived in brotherhood and shared their possessions so that no one was in need (cf. Acts 2:42-47). What does all this derive from? From the Eucharist, that is, from the Risen Christ, really present in the midst of his disciples and acting with the power of the Holy Spirit.
And also in the following generations, in spite of human limitations and errors, the Church has continued down the centuries to be a force of communion in the world. Let us think especially of the most difficult and trying periods, for example, of what the possibility of gathering together at Sunday Mass meant to countries subjected to totalitarian regimes! As the ancient martyrs of Abitene said: “Sine Dominico non possumus” — without “Dominicum” [Sunday], that is, without the Sunday Eucharist we cannot live. But the void produced by false freedom can be equally dangerous, then communion with the Body of Christ is a medicine for the mind and the will, to rediscover the taste for the truth and the common good.
Dear friends, let us invoke the Virgin Mary, whom my Predecessor, Bl. John Paul II defined the “Woman of the Eucharist” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, nn. 53-58). At her school, may our life too become fully “Eucharistic”, open to God and to others and capable of transforming evil into good with the power of love, reaching out to foster unity, communion and brotherhood.
Continue next page to see Pope Francis I’s Homilies & Angelus.
Note: This webpage has many hyperlinks to the Vatican Webpage. The above extracts were compiled for your easy reading.
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Compiled on 7 June 2020, 17:30 SGT
Last updated: 14 June 2020, 04:33 SGT