'The body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Sunday Reflections, Corpus Christi Sunday, Year B


Corpus Christ Procession, Carl Emil Doepler [Wikipedia]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

In countries where  Corpus Christi is celebrated as a holy day of obligation on Thursday 31 May the Mass for the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, is celebrated this Sunday.

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

The Institution of the Eucharist, Federico Fiori Barocci 

A friend in Dublin whom I have known for many years is going on a pilgrimage to Fatima this week. She is a grandmother and was widowed last year. She told me that she is the only adult member of her wider family never to have gone on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. But she added, 'There's really no need to go on a pilgrimage since the Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament in the parish church'.

My friend goes to Mass every day but during the last two years of her husband's life was unable to go to church. However, a neighbour who is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion brought her the Body of Christ every day. That sustained her in very difficult times.


Some years ago while visiting Canada I was invited to give a talk to a prayer group in Hamilton, Ontario. During coffee afterwards one of the members told me how she finally decided to become a Catholic. She was originally from Germany and grew up in the Lutheran Church. She had been thinking of becoming a Catholic for many years but could not take the final step. One weekday when she was feeling somewhat down she happened to be passing a Catholic church and decided to go in and pray. While she was there a small group of teenage boys came in, went up to the front of the church, genuflected to the Blessed Sacrament, prayed silently for a minute or two, genuflected again and left.


That was the moment of grace for her, the quiet faith of those boys, their faith in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No 1374, states: The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as 'the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.' 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.



St Norbert, Martin Pepijn [Web Gallery of Art]

St Norbert is kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. At a slightly higher level is a sanctuary lamp that reminds us of the presence of the the Risen Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. When we enter a church and see that lamp burning - it is usually an electric lamp these days - we genuflect in adoration because we are in the presence of Jesus Christ body and blood, together with the soul and divinity.

During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, through the power of the Holy Spirit acting in the priest, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. When we approach the Lord to receive him in Holy Communion we should be prepared, with no grave unconfessed sin, and with reverence and silence. We are not receiving a symbol of Christ the Risen Lord, we are not receiving just a piece of bread but the Lord himself coming to us in the form of bread and wine.

So often when I tell people at parties, for example, and mention that I don't drink alcohol someone will say, 'But you drink wine at Mass!' I try to gently remind them that I don't 'drink wine at Mass' but the Blood of Christ himself.

The late Columban Fr PJ McGlinchey visiting a sick person in Jeju, Korea

A poem can often help us see something ‘ordinary’ in a new way or it may help us see something quite extraordinary from the vantage point of ordinariness – bringing us to see a new aspect of its extraordinariness.
Such is a poem in Irish by Seán Ó Leocháin published in 1986 in Aithrí Thoirní and which I came across in an article in Comhar in May 1992. It is appropriate for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
I’ve never had the gift of writing poetry but will attempt a translation of the poem.
Nuair a tháinig an sagart
chuig m’athair inniu,
mar a thagann de ghnáth
i dtús na míosa,
le lón na beatha
a thabhairt d’fhear
nach bhfágann an chlúid
in aon chor le tamall,
ní hé an gnás
ab ait liom féin.
Ní hé ba mhó
ba bhun le m’iontas
fear dá chlú,
dá chleacht, dá éirim
ar cuairt na sean
i dtús na míosa
le comhairle a leasa
a chur ar dhream
nach bhfágfadh clúid na haithrí choíche,

ach Críost a theacht
i gcarr athláimhe
a cheannaigh an sagart
ó fhear i Ros Comáin.


When the priest came
to my father today
as he usually comes
at the beginning of the month
with the food of life
to give to a man
who’s been bed-ridden
for some time now,
it wasn’t the rite
that was strange to me.
What really
caused my wonder wasn’t
a man of such repute,
such experience, such intelligence
visiting the old
at the beginning of the month
with wise counsel
to give to those
who would never leave the corner of penance again,

but Christ coming
in a second-hand car
the priest had bought
from a man in Roscommon.


Antiphona ad communionem  Communion Antiphon  John 6:57

Qui manducat carnem meam
     et bibit meaum sanguinem,
in me manet et ego in eos,
     dicit Dominus.

Whoever eats my flesh
     and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him
     says the Lord.

The choir in the video is from Japan, the Kobe Camerata.

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