Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Share On

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Memorial of Saint Romuald (+1027), anchorite and father of Camaldolensis monks.


First Reading

Genesis 14,18-20

Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High. He pronounced this blessing: Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High for putting your enemies into your clutches. And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Psalmody

Psalm 109

Antiphon

You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

The Lord's revelation to my Master :
'Sit on my right :
your foes I will put beneath your feet.'

The Lord will wield from Zion
your sceptre of power ;
rule in the midst of all your foes.

A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
'You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek of old'

The Master standing at your right hand
will shatter kings in the day of his wrath.

He, the judge of the nations,
will heal high the bodies;
heads shall be shattered far and wide.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside
and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 11,23-26

For the tradition I received from the Lord and also handed on to you is that on the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and after he had given thanks, he broke it, and he said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' And in the same way, with the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.' Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 9,11-17

But the crowds got to know and they went after him. He made them welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing. It was late afternoon when the Twelve came up to him and said, 'Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.' He replied, 'Give them something to eat yourselves.' But they said, 'We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.' For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, 'Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.' They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps left over were collected they filled twelve baskets.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

With the narration of the Last Supper described by Paul's Letter to the Corinthians, this Sunday's liturgy presents us again with these strong and concrete words, "This is my body," "This is my blood." Truly this is the mystery of faith , as we say together after consecration. It is the mystery of a continuous and most particular presence. Jesus is not only actually present in the Eucharist, which alone is a great thing, but is present as a "broken" body and as blood "poured out." In this sense, the feast of Corpus Domini is the celebration of a body that is able to manifest its wounds and from whose side pours forth "blood and water," as the apostle John notes.
Even his body is present among us in a manner different from our own bodies: we are attentive to and concerned about our bodies, whereas he is present with a "broken" body. We are bent on defending ourselves, employing every kind of cure and device in order not to ruin our health, whereas he comes among us pouring out all of his blood. This Host continuously contests (in this sense he is a "foreigner") our way of living, our solicitous attention to our well-being, our avoidance of fatigue, and our tendency to flee from every responsibility towards others. The Lord, in this Host, reveals to us a completely different way. Just as Paul says, the Lord made himself a nutriment for all people, so that we may all be transformed into one body, the body of Christ, and so that we may have the same thoughts and feelings as Christ.
There is another consideration to make, one that is connected to the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves. Every day our streets are traversed by processions of Corpus Domini: these are the processions of the poor, of those who are from our neighbourhood, of those who arrive from afar and of the very many who are far from us. All of them are the "body of Christ," and they continue to walk along the streets of our cities and of the world without anyone to care for them. Rather often they are even blocked with walls and barbed-wire: they cannot share the common table. And yet it belongs to them by right. John Chrysostom's warning is very clear: "If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not disdain it when it is nude. Do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silken vestments, while outside of the church you neglect that other Christ who is naked and afflicted by the cold." Let us not separate the service to the eucharistic altar from the one to the poor. It is the meaning of a Church that is servant of Christ and of the poor. Both bodies are the real body of Christ, who is not divided, as long as we do not divide him ourselves.