My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Today, in thousands of cities, towns, and villages, on every continent, our Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ are walking the streets of the world in the Solemn Traditional Processions of Corpus Christi Sunday 2008.
Today, you and I are a part of the dynamic history of the Catholic Church in the city of Middletown, Connecticut. Today, for the first time, we honor our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament with a city-wide traditional Corpus Christi Procession, beginning right here at our St. John Church, the oldest and most beautiful Catholic Church of our city of Middletown and of the Diocese of Norwich.
Following prayers and Solemn Benediction, we walk as a community of faith to St. Sebastian Church, on to St. Mary of Czestochowa Church, and ending at St. Francis of Assisi Church with a lovely banquet in the Monsignor Fox Parish center on their parish grounds. What a time of blessing for each of our parish families…for our city of Middletown…for the state of Connecticut…for our nation…and for our whole world today!
Jesus Christ blesses us today! Corpus Christi is Latin for “The Body of Christ” – the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This is the great mysterium fidei – “mystery of faith” – we celebrate today, the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, the greatest of sacraments. It is the sacrament of Divine Love! The Holy Eucharist is NOT a symbol of Christ’s spiritual presence. It is NOT just a reminder of Jesus’ self-offering in the past. No, Jesus Christ is TRULY PRESENT in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore, the whole Christ, is truly, really, and substantially contained” (#1374 of the Catechism).
This is why St. Paul, in today’s Second Reading of the Corpus Christi Mass, calls Holy Communion a “participation” in the real Body and Blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). This is why Jesus Himself, in today’s Gospel Reading, repeats SIX TIMES that His flesh is real food and His blood is real drink (John 6:51-58). This wonderful, mind-boggling mystery of our Catholic faith reveals just how much Jesus loves us. He loves us so much that He wants His own life to flow through our veins. He wants to accompany us always and everywhere, until He leads us home to be with Him in heaven.
As Pope Benedict XVI tells us, “In the Corpus Christi Procession, we walk with the Risen One on His journey to meet the entire world. We bring Christ, present under the sign of bread, onto the streets of our city. We entrust these streets, these homes, our daily life, to His goodness…May every day of our life been penetrated by His Presence” (Homily for Corpus Christi 2005).
May the Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored, and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the Tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time!
Corpus Christi Sunday Blessings to all!