The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (B)

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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

CCC 790, 1003, 1322-1419: the Holy Eucharist
CCC 805, 950, 2181-2182, 2637, 2845: the Eucharist and the communion of believers
CCC 1212, 1275, 1436, 2837: the Eucharist as spiritual food

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in Questions and Answers

Tthe readings of the Sundays and Feastdays of the liturgical year are referred to the corresponding parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Doctrinal Homily Outlines

Eucharist: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

by Kevin Aldrich

Central idea: The Holy Eucharist.
Doctrine: The Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
Practical application: Worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist.


EXCERPT: Worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist

  • The sequence Lauda Sion, which we recite today, has two very sobering stanzas:

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
Is with unlike issues rife.

  • Some are receiving the Eucharist unworthily. We ought to want to receive Holy Communion worthily.
    • A most important reason for worthy reception is because this Communion is “intimate union . . . with Christ” because “[t]o receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us” (CCC 1382).
  • The U.S. bishops call us to prepare for worthy reception of Communion…
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RCL Benziger

The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

On this feast when the Church contemplates the eucharistic banquet of the Lord, we proclaim our belief that “when we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory” (Roman Missal, Memorial Acclamation, Eucharistic Prayer). As followers of Jesus, we carry out his command to “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 1:24-25).

The emphatic proclamation of this awesome mystery is only possible because from the earliest times the Church has experienced in this sacred meal the real presence of Jesus Christ. This means that when we eat this bread and drink this cup, although we taste the fruits of the earth and our human hands (bread and wine), we experience in faith the body and blood of our Lord and Savior who sacrificed himself on our behalf.

We believe that when the Church gathers, Mass is celebrated with the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and within the Eucharist, bread and wine are presented and prayed over, the Spirit of God descends and makes those elements into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Church has insisted from the earliest times that this is the “real presence” of Christ, that is, real in the fullest sense a substantial presence by which Christ, both God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present (CCC 1374). Why? Most especially because Jesus himself promised this and secondarily because the apostles and those who have followed in this Church have experienced it to be so.

A substantial change takes place within the elements of bread and wine. Indeed, the term in our tradition for the change, which takes place, is “transubstantiation.”

Sunday Lectionary Catechetical Resources

Catechist Background
Primary Session
Intermediate Session
Junior High School

SOURCE: RCL Benziger Classroom Activities, Year B

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (B)

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RELATED: These Are The Sacraments

The Sacrament of Eucharist

Excerpt from Venerable Fulton Sheen, 1962

The Mass has three important parts: the Offertory, the Consecration, and the Communion. In the order of human love, these correspond to engagement, the marriage ceremony, and the consummation of the marriage.

When a man becomes engaged to a woman, he generally brings her the gift of a precious ring; it is not of tin or straw, because these represent no sacrifice. Regardless of how much he might pay for the ring, he would still tear off the price tag, in order that his beloved might never establish any correspondence between the price of the gift and his love. No matter how much he gave her, the gift to him would seem inadequate. The ring is round in order to express the eternity of his love which has neither beginning nor end; it is precious, because it is a symbol of the total readiness to give his whole personality to the beloved.

The Mass, too, has an engagement which corresponds to the Offertory of the Mass, in which the faithful bring gifts of bread and wine, or its equivalent, that which buys bread and wine. As the ring is a symbol of the lover offering himself to the beloved, so too, the bread and wine are the symbols of a person offering himself to Christ. This is apparent in several ways: first, since bread and wine have traditionally nourished man and given him life, in bringing that which was the substance of his life, he is equivalently giving himself. Second, the readiness to sacrifice himself for the beloved is revealed in the bread and wine; no two substances have to undergo more to become what they are than do wheat and grapes. One passes through the Gethsemane of a mill, the other through the Calvary of the winepress before they can be presented to the Beloved on the altar. In the Offertory, therefore, under the appearance of bread and wine, the faithful are offering themselves to Christ.

After the engagement comes the marriage ceremony in which the lover sacrifices himself for the beloved, and the beloved surrenders devotedly to the lover. The groom practically says, “My greatest freedom is to be your slave. I give up my individuality in order to serve you.” The joining of hands in the marriage ceremony is a symbol of the transfer of self to another self: “I am yours and you are mine. I want to die to myself, in order to live in you, my beloved. I cannot live unto you, unless I give up myself. So I say to you, ‘This is My Body; this is My Blood’.”

In the Mass, the faithful are already present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine. At the moment of the Consecration of the Mass, when the priest as Christ pronounces the words “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood,” the substance of the bread becomes the substance of the body of Christ, and the substance of the wine becomes the substance of the blood of Christ. At that moment, the faithful are saying in a secondary sense with the priest: “This is my body; this is my blood. Take it! I no longer want it for myself. The very substance of my being, my intellect, and my will – change! Transubstantiate! – so that my ego is lost in Thee, so that my intellect is one with Thy Truth, and my will is one with Thy desires! I care not if the species or appearances of my life remain; that is to say, my duties, my avocation, my appointments in time and space. But what I am substantially, I give to Thee.”

After the marriage ceremony is the consummation of the marriage. All love craves unity. Correspondence by letter, or by speech, cannot satisfy that instinctive yearning of two hearts to be lost in one another. There must, therefore, come some great ecstatic moment in which love becomes too deep for words; this is the communion of body and blood with body and blood in the oneness which lasts not long, but is a foretaste of Heaven.

The marital act is nothing but a fragile and shadowy image of Communion in which, after having offered ourselves under the appearance of bread and wine and having died to our lower self, we now begin to enjoy that ecstatic union with Christ in Holy Communion – a oneness which is, in the language of Thompson, “a passionless passion, a wild tranquility.” This is the moment when the hungry heart communes with the Bread of Life; this is the rapture in which is fulfilled that “love we fall just short of in all love,” and that rapture that leaves all other raptures pain.

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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (B)



Hebrews 9:11-15

EXCERPT:  For many of us, there is a disconnect in our minds between worship and morality. One can be a good person, we say, without believing in God or serving him in a worshipping community. And to an extent, this is true.

But for the Christian, the life of worship is inextricably bound up in the moral life and vice versa. The moral life is about the “good” life, and a life cannot be truly good apart from the One who is Himself goodness, and for this, grace is necessary, grace which is received especially through the sacrament of the Eucharist.

In the Mass, we participate in Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice which truly has a cleansing effect on our consciences so that we can go forth from the Mass doing the works of Christ. Thus the Mass concludes, “Ite, missa est.” Benedict the XVI has written how in this sense, the Mass is never finished (as the English translates the conclusion) but continues in the works of believers who carry forth the sacrifice of the Mass offering a “sacrifice of praise to God” in works of service and charity (Hebrews 13:15-16).

And that is why it is fitting that Thomas Aquinas was the one to write the liturgy for this feast we celebrate now. Aquinas writes in the prologue to his magnum opus, the Summa Theologiae:

So because . . . the fundamental aim of sacra doctrina is to make God known, not only as he is in himself, but as the beginning and end of all things and of reasoning creatures especially, we now intend to set forth this divine teaching by treating, first, of God, second of the journey to God of reasoning creatures (i.e. the moral life), third of Christ, who as man remains our road to God.

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