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Reflection: June 6, 2021

Sr. Jeanne Marie Hatch SHCJ - June 4, 2021

Feast of Corpus Christi

Today’s feast commemorates the Institution of Holy Eucharist which is also celebrated on Holy Thursday each year. Corpus Christi is translated Body of Christ, the mystery of Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ which we receive in Holy Communion. The rich season celebrating major mysteries of our faith such as Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and the Blessed Trinity, concludes with this Solemnity before we return to Ordinary Time next week. 

Today’s reading from Exodus harkens back to the Passover feast which ratifies through the sprinkled blood the covenant between God and his people. The second reading from Hebrews proclaims the Blood of Christ has cleansed us far beyond that of goats and bulls in the ancient sacrifices. The Gospel reading from Mark brings together themes of covenant and sacrifice and recalls the Last Supper of Jesus reminiscent of a Passover Supper. During this meal Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and shares it. He blesses the wine, drinks and shares it, proclaiming it is the blood of the new covenant. Luke’s gospel includes the command, “Do this in remembrance of me.” These words are familiar to us as part of the Consecration at Mass. Thus Jesus found a way to remain with us through this Eucharistic presence after his physical Ascension back to the Father. Such was and is the power of Jesus’ love for each of us.

This feast also has its own Sequence, a beautiful, poetic, if not quaint, prayer, expressing devotion to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. An example is quoted below:

“Very bread, Good Shepherd tend us. Jesus, of your love befriend us.

You refresh us, you defend us. Your eternal goodness, send us, in the land of life to see.”

For many of us, the pandemic made it impossible to attend Mass and receive Eucharist when Churches were shut down, but many attended virtual Mass each weekend. We learned to make a spiritual communion by saying a certain prayer. Hunger for Mass and for the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist was often a painful experience. Only now are we slowly returning to churches for mass without a mask and social distancing. Receiving under both species is still not permitted for safety reasons. How did you feel about this loss each Sunday and perhaps weekdays? Was it helpful to make a spiritual communion prayer?  Might we continue this brief prayer on a daily basis?

“Jesus, since I cannot receive you sacramentally, come, spiritually, into my heart.

I embrace you as if you are already there. I unite myself wholly to you.

Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.”

We may always encounter the Lord through Scripture and prayer which will deepen our faith in Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, whether sacramentally or spiritually.  And finally, we recall how Jesus is to be experienced in the presence of one another, our family and friends, and especially among those who need our help. On this feast let us reach out to meet Christ in his friends, most in need, in unlikely places. May we find where Christ’s body needs to be blessed, broken and shared today! Around the table, around the corner or around the world!

Have a beautiful Feast of Corpus Christi!

Note: This reflection concludes the series for this semester. Be assured of special prayers for the Rosemont College extended Community through the summer months ahead. May this time be blessed with renewal, relaxation, and refreshment for all. May God love and bless you all.

Gratefully in our loving God,

Sister Jeanne, SHCJ