Sunday, June 18, 2017
by Fr. Tom Hurley
Not to bore you with a lot of historical detail, but did you ever wonder why the Church marks and celebrates this Sunday as “Corpus Christi,” or what is formally known today as The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ? Introduced centuries ago by St. Juliana during the 12th century and subsequently reinforced and enhanced by others throughout the years, this special feast that highlights the importance of the Eucharist came as a result of some folks not wanting to forget. Complete with processions and other acts of devotion, the feast of Corpus Christi essentially came about because many thought the Holy Thursday liturgy focused so much on the great command to Wash Feet, the institution of the priesthood, and the agony in the garden, that the importance of the Eucharist was somehow being diminished. So, through her own vision Juliana and the popes of her time set aside a special Sunday in order to call everyone’s attention to the sacredness of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Thus, every year the Sunday following Trinity Sunday is now known as the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Again, while I don’t mean to just offer some quick, simple facts as “filler” about a Catholic feast day, I do think today’s liturgical focus (aside from also being Father’s Day which really has no liturgical relevance per se) is a good reminder for us in terms of the centerpiece of our Tradition. Maybe the situation in the culture of Juliana during the 12th century is not so far off from what’s happening today in our own. With more and more people not participating in the Sunday Eucharist, perhaps maybe this is our moment to remind ourselves of what the Eucharist is all about for us. Such a reflection probably deserves a lot more time and space than this short column can offer, but I would suggest if we believe that at the heart of our Catholic identity is gathering at the Eucharistic table to break open the Word and break the Bread, and hopefully this gives us a renewed sense of our life as disciples in the world, perhaps this is our moment to keep inviting and reminding our sisters and brothers of the importance of why we come together. Maybe it’s days like today being the Feast of the Body of Christ that we are reminded again that the Risen Christ is truly present to us and calls us to be the Body of Christ for one another and for the world. May the One who nourishes us help us to be on mission to find ways to nourish others and to invite them to join us at the Table of Mercy. Like I said, such a reflection deserves more
time and energy that this short column is offering, but I would really invite us all to consider how we as the Body of Christ can become a more “Inviting” Body of Christ.
Likewise, it’s Father’s Day in our country! A special blessing and prayer of thanksgiving for all of those who are called to this special vocation of being Father! And to all those men and women who raise children on your own, we are with you in prayerful solidarity today. Thank you to all who are great examples and wisdom figures, “fatherly” in so many ways! We are lucky to have you in our lives and to our God on this special day, we give thanks!
I do hope you’ll join us this week for the World’s Largest Block Party! We need you! We need your prayers for a successful two day event which benefits the overall mission of Old St. Pat’s! Thanks to all who are stepping up as volunteers and hosting this signature summer event for our many guests!
A blessed Summer,
Father Tom Hurley