Sunday, June 18, 2006

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Octave of Corpus Christi
Fragments from Roman Breviary - Nocturn II
The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St. John Chrysostom

Since the Word saith : This is my Body : let us be persuaded of the truth of his words ; and let us believe, and look upon him with the eyes of our understanding. For Christ hath not given us a reality cognizable by the senses, but rather tokens of that reality, which same are sensible things, altogether cognizable by the understanding. For example, consider Baptism : wherein by means of a sensible thing, (to wit, water,) a gift is bestowed, but the intelligible reality which is conferred is birth and renewal. For if thou wert bodiless, he would have given thee incorporeal gifts ; but inasmuch as thy soul is united to a body, he giveth thee intelligible realities under visible things which pértain to the senses. How many are there now who say, Would that I could behold his form, his face, his garments, his sandals! Behold, thou dost see him ; thou touchest him ; thou eatest him. Thou wouldst fain see his mere garments, but he granteth thee not merely to see him, but to eat him, to touch him, to take him within thyself. Let no one therefore come with disgust, no one carelessly, but all kindled, all fervent, and eager. For if the Jews ate the lamb hastily, standing having their sandals on their feet, and grasping their staves in their hands, it is far more needful that thou shouldst be on the alert. For they were about to make their journey to Palestine, and for that reason assumed the character of travellers ; but thou art to make thy journey to heaven. Wherefore thou must needs be watchful in all aspects, for no light punishment is set before those who receive unworthily. Think how wrathful thou art against the traitor, and against them who crucified him. Ponder therefore, lest thou shouldst be guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ. They slew that most holy Body ; thou, after so many acts of his goodness, often receivest him in a polluted soul. For it was not enough for him to be made Man, to be smitten with buffets, and to be crucified ; but he also maketh himself one with us ; so that not in faith alone, but in very deed, we become one with his Body. Ought not one then to be very clean, if he is to partake of such a Sacrifice? Yea, more glorious than the sunbeam should be the hand which distributeth that Flesh ; yea, and likewise should be the mouth which is filled with that spiritual fire, and the tongue which is ruddy with that most awful Blood. Ponder what an honour it is with which thou art graced ; what a Table it is thou dost enjoy. That which the Angels tremble to hold, and dare not look upon freely, because of the glory which shineth from it, with this we are fed, to this we are united, and become one body and one flesh with Christ. Who can express the noble acts of the Lord, or shew forth all his praise? What shepherd doth feed his sheep with his own blood? And why should I speak of a shepherd? For there are many mothers who, after the pains of childbearing, entrust their children to other nurses. This he did not endure to do, but himself doth feed us with his own Blood, and unite us to all things unto himself.

"The Invitation to the Banquet" Fragments from Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, grant that I may always answer Your invitation and participate worthily in Your banquet.

1. Today's Gospel (Lk 14, 16-24) fits perfectly with the feast of Corpus Christi "A certain man made a great supper, and invited many." The man who makes the supper is God; the great supper is His Kingdom where souls will find full abundance of spiritual blessings while on earth, and eternal happiness in the next life. This is the real meaning of the parable, but we can also interpret it more specifically, seeing in the supper and in the man who prepares it a figure of the Eucharistic banquet and of Jesus, inviting men to partake of His Body and Blood. "The table of the Lord is set for us," sings the Church, "Wisdom [the Incarnate Word] has prepared the wine and laid the table" (RB). Jesus Himself, when announcing the Eucharist, addressed His invitation to all: "I am the Bread of life! He that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst....Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die" (Jn 6, 35.49.50). Jesus does not limit Himself, like other men, to preparing the table for a supper, inviting many, and serving delicious food; he is an unheard-of procedure, which no man, however rich and powerful he might be, could ever imitate. Jesus offers Himself as Food. St. John Chrysostom said to those who wanted to see Christ in the Eucharist with their bodily eyes, "Behold, you do see Him; you touch Him, you eat Him. You would like to see His garments; He not only permits you to see Him, but also to eat Him, to touch Him, and to receive Him into your heart.... He whom the angels look upon with fear, and dare not gaze upon steadfastly because of His dazzling splendor, becomes our Food; we are united to Him, and are made one body and one flesh with Christ" (RB).

... Although a beggar I come to You because You invite me; You, who being rich became poor for me, so that Your poverty would make me rich. Weak as I am, I shall draw near, for it is not the healthy who need the physician, but the sick. I shall approach you like a cripple and say: 'Set my feet in Your paths.' I shall come like a blind person and say: 'Give sight to my eyes, that I may never sleep the sleep of death' " (St Augustine).