I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever. – John 6:51
This weekend marks the glorious Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). On this day, we celebrate the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
This is a BIG deal! CCC 1324 says, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” It’s not just some bread and wine that we pass around for fun on Sunday morning, this is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, truly present! The Catholic Church has followed Jesus’ Commandment—do this in memory of me—since the very beginning. The source and summit of our faith is truly a cause for celebration.
When did this solemnity begin?
The Solemnity has been on the Church Calendar since the thirteenth century.
“St. Julian of Norwich, she would have these dreams of visions where she would see a full moon but it seemed to be missing something, a little hole in it. And she said our Church calendar is missing something, it’ missing a glorious feast day of Corpus Christi. So she passed this along to her bishop and her bishop said, you’re right. And he implemented a feast of Corpus Christi in the diocese. And then, in the thirteenth century it spread like wildfire,” explained Fr. Rocky, Executive Director of Relevant Radio®.
The Power of the Real Presence
Just a few years later, a priest who had doubts about the Real Presence stopped in a small Italian town on his way to Rome. “While he was celebrating Mass in this little town of Bolsena, he lifted up the Eucharist and the Eucharist began to bleed. Blood came out of the hosts and it ran down his hands and it landed on the corporal,” said Fr. Rocky.
His faith was changed with that Eucharistic miracle. The corporal was brought to the town of Orvieto, where the people built a magnificent cathedral to hold the bloodstained cloth.
Corpus Christi Sequence (shorter form)
Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
see the children’s bread from heaven,
which on dogs may not be spent.
Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
manna to the fathers sent.
Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.
You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.