Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

Homily by St. Augustine - Lessons vii-ix Nocturn III

Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead.  Wherefore did they eat and die?  Because they believed only what they saw with their eyes ; and what they saw not with their eyes they understood not.  And therefore, my brethren, were they your fathers, because ye are like unto them.  For, so far as the visible death of this body is concerned, do we not also die, who eat of that bread which cometh down from heaven?  They died, and so shall we also die, as far, as I have said, as that death is concerned which is outward and bodily. But the death whereof the Lord doth sound the alarm, the death that their fathers died, is another death than that which is outward and bodily.  Moses ate manna, Aaron ate manna, Phinehas ate manna, many ate manna in whom the Lord was well pleased ; and these are not dead.  Wherefore?  Because they understood spiritually that outward bread, and did spiritually hunger thereafter, and did spiritually taste thereof, and were spiritually satisfied therewith.  So also we this day do feed on a visible food, but the Sacrament is one thing, and the power of the Sacrament is another.O how many there be which receive at the altar, and die ; yea, die even in the very receiving.  Whence the Apostle saith : Eateth and drinketh  judgement to himself.  Is it not written : When Jesus had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, and after the sop Satan entered into him?  And yet he took it.  And when he had eaten it, the enemy entered in and possessed him.  Not because what he ate was evil, but because he, being evil, dared to eat that which was good.  Look to it well, then, brethren, that ye take spiritually the Bread which cometh down from heaven.  Bring innocency with you to the altar.  Though your sins be daily, let them not be deadly.  Before ye draw near to the altar, think well what it is that ye say : Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  And ye may draw near boldly, for unto you, it is Bread, and not poison.

Picture above shows the Flesh and Blood of Our Lord preserved intact since 8th century at Lanciano, Italy. Eucharistic Miracle took place and bread and wine was changed during consecration into Flesh and Blood of Our Saviour before the eyes of unbelieving priest.