Sunday Church at Home – Corpus Christi, Year A

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Sunday Church at Home

during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:          ln the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:        Amen

Leader:          Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:        Blessed be God for ever

Leader:          The festivals continue beyond the season of Easter. First the Holy Trinity is honoured, and now the Body and Blood of Christ. Many still know today’s feast by its shorter Latin name, Corpus Christi.

This observance originated in the Belgian city of Liège in the 13th century. Very soon after, in 1264, Pope Urban IV decreed that the feast be celebrated by the whole Western Church. From then until the reforms of the Second Vatican Council the popular focus of the feast was on the presence of Christ in the consecrated bread, the Blessed Sacrament.

Nowadays the feast invites us to enter into the whole mystery of Jesus’ self-gift to us in the eucharistic meal. We are reminded that the eucharist is first and foremost an action that engages us heart and soul. Our communion in the Body and Blood of Christ makes the Church the Body of Christ. Like Jesus we break the bread and pour out the wine of our lives for the sake of the world.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3.14b-16a

Introduction to the reading: The events in today’s reading take place as the Israelites are camped on the shore of the Jordan River ready to enter the Promised Land. In his farewell speech, Moses makes it clear that when they settle in their new land they must never forget all the wonderful things God did for them during their 40 years in the desert

A reading from the Book of Deuternonomy

Moses spoke to the people, saying, “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. “ And you shall remember the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna which your fathers did not know.”

The Word of the Lord.

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm beginning and ending with the response:

R/: O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!

O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!
O Sion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.

He established peace on your borders;
he gives you your fill of finest wheat.
He sends out his word to the earth,
and swiftly runs his command.

He reveals his word to Jacob;
to Israel, his decrees and judgements.
He has not dealt thus with other nations;
He has not taught them his judgements.

R/: O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!

 

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians10:16-17

Introduction to the reading: The Jewish people believed that when they sacrificed an animal to God and then ate a portion of the sacrifice themselves, they were in communion with God to whom they had given the other portion. Applying this to the Eucharist, Paul reminds us that when we receive Holy Communion, we become one with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

 A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians

Brethren: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation[ in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

The Word of the Lord.

 

Alleluia, alleluia. I am the living bread which came down from heaven, says the Lord; if anyone eats this bread he will live forever. Alleluia!

Gospel: John 6:51-58

 A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

At that time: Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily prepared by Fr Tshepo

When Jesus taught the crowds that He is the true bread from heaven and that one who eats His flesh and drinks His blood will have eternal life, His teaching was rejected by many. They asked: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” and they concluded: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” They then went away from Him. Upon seeing them going away, Jesus did not run after them; He didn’t say “No, wait! You have misunderstood me; this is not my real body and my real blood. It is merely symbolic.” No. He didn’t say that. He obviously meant what he said. Instead, He turned to His disciples and said: “Do you want to leave as well?”

And He asks you and me the same question today. Is this teaching difficult to accept? Do you want to leave as well?

And what teaching is this?
I would like to summarise it in three words: Remember, Thanksgiving, Communion.

Firstly, at every Mass we remember. On the day before He was crucified, Jesus anticipated His sacrifice. He instituted the Eucharist. He gave His disciples His Flesh and Blood, the sacrifice HE was to culminate on Calvary. And from that day onwards, the Church has done what Our Lord asked: “Do this in remembrance of me.” And so, at every Mass we remember. Remembering (anamnesis) does not mean merely recalling in one’s mind an event that took place some time ago. To remember – in the biblical, Jewish understanding, is to not only recall an event, but to make that event present here and now. When the Jews celebrated Passover, they not only recalled what happened to their ancestors, but that event was re-enacted, made present again in their lives. The same happens for us as well. At every Mass, we not only recall the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. That event is made present at the altar. At every Mass, we are, as it were, standing at the foot of Calvary. To remember Christ’s sacrifice at Mass, therefore, is to make that very same sacrifice resent here and now.

Secondly, at every Mass we give thanks. Eucharist means thanksgiving. We remember with gratitude all that God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We also remember and give thanks for all our own personal experiences of God’s love at work in our daily lives. Mass is a time to count our blessings and to give thanks.

Third, the Eucharist is a banquet in which the Lord gives us His Flesh and Blood for us to consume: Communion. At the consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The outward appearances remain, but the essence is changed. Our Lord comes to us in a manner that we would be able to receive Him. If He were to change the outward appearances into being like flesh and blood, how many of us would be able to partake of the Eucharist? What we consume is the living and life-giving Flesh and Blood of our Risen Lord. Hence, we are not cannibals, for cannibals eat dead flesh that gives nutrition only for a short time. We consume the life-giving flesh that gives eternal life.

So, when we remember, give thanks, and partake of Holy Communion, our lives are transformed. Christ lives in us. And so, our lives must show this reality. When people encounter us, they must encounter Christ.

 

Reflection Questions

  • Do our actions reveal our belief in the Real presence of Christ? How do I show reverence at church? Do I genuflect properly and reverently, or do I give half-hearted gestures?
  • At Mass, am I fully, consciously and actively a participant? Or do I always have something on my mind, not paying full attention?
  • When I receive the sacred host on my hand or on my tongue, am I conscious of the Who it is I am receiving? Or has this consciousness diminished over time?
  • St Augustine says: “You are what you receive.” When I leave the church premises after Mass, am I aware that I am to be Christ in the world (salt of the Earth and light to the world)?

Prayers of the Faithful

Leader:          Let us turn to our heavenly Father and put before him our needs.

Reader:         Lord God, you call us to hear your Word, and to be nourished and to share. Open our hearts and minds to your call.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, our Bishops and all who proclaim God’s word. May they find faith, courage and strength to preach the Good News.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for unity: that we may all answer God’s call to be one bread, one body, one people.
Lord, hear us

We pray for our civic leaders: may they always have regard for the poor and vulnerable in society in the decisions they make.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for all who hunger and thirst for justice, that they may be satisfied.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for all victims of mental, physical and sexual abuse. May they find true peace and healing in Jesus, the Bread of Life.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for all in need. May we as Christians willingly share of our plenty and be generous in our support, compassion and understanding.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time, especially for: Viviene Pickering and Nesbitt Kirchhoffer.
Lord, hear us.

We pray for John Warner and all who have died this week, especially those with the Covid-19 virus.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.

 

All:      And let perpetual light shine on them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

 

Leader:          Let us pray to Jesus, the Bread of Life.

All:                  Lord Jesus, you are the Bread of life, the manna which sustains us in the desert of our daily lives. As we hunger for righteousness and justice, let us know that without you we will forever be found wanting. Sustain us, O Lord, and keep us in your graces through the vessel of your most holy Body and Blood.

We pray for the willingness to make present in our world the love you have shown to us in the Eucharist. Lord Jesus Christ, we worship you living among us in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood. May we offer to our Father in heaven a solemn pledge of undivided love.

May we offer to our brothers and sisters a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever.

Amen.

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.
By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

 

My Jesus,
I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment,
feed my soul at least spiritually.
I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you.
Amen.
 

CONCLUDING RITE

Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

All say:           Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Leader:          Lord Jesus Christ, in this most wonderful sacrament you have left us the memorial of your passion;

deepen our reverence for the mystery of your body and blood, that we may experience within us the fruit of your redemption.

You live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.
Amen.

 

Blessing

A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

All:                  Amen.

Instrumental music may be played or a hymn may be sung.