Corpus Christi is the solemn feast of the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The institution of the Holy Eucharist is commemorated on Holy Thursday of Holy week, however because of other liturgies and the somber atmosphere of Holy Week, the Church set aside another day to celebrate this solemnity, feast, with greater solemnity.
This feast was established by Pope Urban IV in 1264 who also commissioned the dominican Thomas Aquinas and the Franciscan Bonaventure to compose the Mass and Prayers for the feast. It is said, that when Bonaventure saw what Aquinas had written, he withdrew his own so that it wont even be considered. Thomas Aquinas gave us some of the most beautiful Eucharistic hymns, ::Pange Lingua, Tantum Ergo, Lauda Sion, Panis Angelicus, etc. and of course the prayers for the Mass of Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi takes us back to the last supper in the ‘upper room’. At that last supper, Jesus said, ” I have wanted so much to eat this Passover meal with you (his disciples) before I suffer “. ( Lk. 22, 14-15). During the supper Jesus took bread and wine and gave them a new meaning and a new function,” This is my body, this is my Blood, do this in my memory”.
Great men wanted to be remembered by statues , monuments or paintings. Jesus left us Himself in the Holy Eucharist.
A poster once got my attention. It said, ” Jesus of Nazareth invites you to a supper to be given in his honor”. We are invited to come, taste and see the goodness of the Lord so that we may live. We accept and we believe. and with ST. Thomas the apostle we proclaim, ” My Lord and my God “.
Prayer::Oh Sacred Banquet in which Christ becomes our food, the memory of His passion is celebrated, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
You gave us bread from heaven, containing every blessing.
Oh God in this wonderful sacrament you have left us a memorial of your passion; help us we beg you, so to reverence the Sacred Mystery of your Body and blood, so that we will constantly feel in our lives the effects of your redemption thru Christ our Lord. Amen.
God bless you and yours! Fr. David, O.P.