My Dear Parishioners,
Today we celebrate the beautiful Feast of Corpus Christi, The Most Holy Body, and Blood of Christ. As Catholics, we believe that Sunday Mass provides us with essential graces to live our faith throughout the week. Unfortunately, though, there are some who take the sacred liturgy for granted. We go to Mass, but fail to see it as a diamond, with many facets, which give it true beauty. It is a sacred meal, where members of the Church, break bread together and can grow in holiness. It is a time when we hear the word of God and are given the opportunity for an ever more
complete participation in our Redeemer’s sacrifice (CCC 1372). It is also a memorial of the mystery of salvation (CCC 1098).
It has all of these facets, and more, which we celebrate in a special way today.
Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb, who offered Himself for the forgiveness of our sins. At the original Passover of the Jews in the land of Egypt, the blood of the lamb was used to mark the homes of the Israelites so that God would spare them from death. Other blood sacrifices were offered to God by the Israelites throughout their history, as we heard in our reading from Exodus today. But now, because of the one perfect sacrifice made by Jesus upon the Cross, such sacrifices would no longer need to be made.
The celebration of the sacred liturgy offers us a number of ways to encounter Jesus, who sacrificed Himself for our salvation. We can encounter Him in all the other people gathered to praise and worship God. We can encounter Him as we hear the word of God preached and proclaimed. And, the most intimate way we meet our Lord is during the second half of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist. During this part of the Mass, the bread and wine placed upon the altar are consecrated and changed into Christ’s Body and Blood. When we come forward to receive Holy Communion, we are receiving Jesus, who nourishes us and strengthens us so that we might live more like He did.
Today, as we give special honor to the Body and Blood of Christ, we will be having our procession through the streets with the Most Blessed Sacrament. This is an opportunity for us as the Church to exhibit to the neighborhood that which is the source and summit of our spiritual lives, our Lord, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. In unity with the Church, let us open our hearts and allow our Eucharistic Lord to nurture our lives, as He has nourished and sustained the lives of countless believers throughout the centuries.
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise, and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!
God Bless, Msgr. Maresca
P.S. This will be my last column until September. I pray each of you will have a restful and relaxing summer. Take time to pray, to be with family and friends and give thanks for all God’s Blessings. Attend mass each weekend. Our participation in the mass allows us to worship, give thanks, and receive Jesus in Holy Communion. We need that spiritual nourishment to strengthen our relationship with Jesus and to be more like Him.