My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Today we observe the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi. One could ask? Why do we need a special Solemnity for the Eucharist? Don’t be celebrate it every day? Don’t we have the Lord’s Supper Mass on the Holy Thursday night? We do. The Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is given to us as a gift of the Lord Jesus who gave himself to his Church at the Last Supper under the species of bread and wine as we heard in the Mark’s Gospel. That’s the origin of the Eucharist. The history of this Solemnity of Corpus Christi goes back to the beginning of the Thirteenth century when St Juliana of Mont Cornillon had a vision of the moon in its full splendour with a small fraction missing. The moon was the symbol of the liturgical year. The missing fraction represented the absence of a liturgical feast in which believers would be able to adore the Eucharist so as to grow in faith. The timing of the vision was important as it was the time when some people began questioning the Real Presence. Therefore the Lord offered his Church a means to address the weakening of faith in the Eucharist.
The Solemnity we are observing today is a divine medicine to heal the weak faith of ours.
The Solemnity we are observing today is a divine medicine so that as the ordinary bread and wine are being brought to our altar we could have enough faith to see the hands of Jesus Christ taking these gifts of ours like he did take bread and wine at the Last Supper.
The Solemnity we are observing today is a divine medicine so that as the ordinary bread and wine are being consecrated by the words of Christ: ‘This is my body… This is my blood’ uttered with the power of the Holy Spirt we could have plenty of faith to look at them and to say with St Thomas the Apostle: ‘My Lord and my God. It is truly you.’
The final touch for introducing this Solemnity to the list of the Church’s celebrations came from a miracle which happened to a German priest Peter of Prague. The priest had lost his faith in the Eucharist. However he approached his dilemma properly. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome. After many days in Rome when nothing was happening he was asked to say a Mass for a group of pilgrims. When he was saying the words: ‘This is my body…’ he thought: ‘It is impossible that this bread could be Jesus’ body.’ Immediately the bread started bleeding. The priest got his faith back and the stained altar cloth was sent to Pope Urban IV who was staying not far from that church. The Pope, who as a young man helped St Juliana present the story of her vision to the local bishop, understood that Jesus wanted a special feast day dedicated to the Holy Eucharist. One year after the miracle of the bleeding host Pope Urban IV established the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in 1264. He wrote: ‘Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly every day, we deem it fitting that at least once a year it be celebrated with greater hour and a solemn commemoration.’
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! As we are offering this Mass on the great feast of Corpus Christi I ask you to accept it as a gift from heaven. The Eucharist is the gift of the Lord given at the Last Supper. This Solemnity of Corpus Christi is the gift of the Lord given to us so that our life can be full to overflowing with faith in the Real Presence of the Lord.