By Devin Watkins
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, often referred to as the feast of Corpus Christi, is traditionally celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, including in the Vatican, but in many places the feast is moved to the following Sunday.
Pope Francis took the opportunity to reflect on the day’s Gospel (Lk 9:11-17) of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed a large crowd.
Sharing is caring
Jesus, said the Pope, “invites his disciples to be truly converted from the line-of-reasoning of ‘each one for himself’ to that of sharing”.
He said we begin with the little that Providence makes available to us.
Pope Francis said this miracle “shows the power of the Messiah” and “his compassion for the people.”
When Jesus miraculously feeds the large crowd with so little food, he is anticipating what will be the memorial of his sacrifice: the Eucharist.
“The Eucharist is the synthesis of Jesus’ entire existence, which was a single act of love for the Father and for his brothers and sisters,” he said.
Just as he does at the Last Supper, Jesus takes bread, prays to the Father, breaks the bread, and gives it to his disciples.
“On the eve of his Passion,” said Pope Francis, “he sought to leave in that gesture the Testament of the new and eternal Covenant, a perpetual memorial of his Pascal death and resurrection.”
Amazement and joy
The feast of Corpus Christi, he said, is a yearly invitation “to renew our amazement and joy at this wonderful gift from the Lord”.
“Let us welcome him with gratitude, not in a passive, habitual way… Every time we draw near to the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our ‘amen’ to the Body of Christ.”
New Spanish Blesseds
Following the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis recalled the beatification of Maria Carmen Lacaba Andía and 13 sisters of the Franciscan Order of the Immaculate Conception, which was held on Saturday in Madrid, Spain.
These 14 cloistered nuns, he said, died in hatred of the faith during the religious persecution which took place in Spain between 1936 and 1939.
“Their martyrdom is an invitation to all of us to be strong and persevering, especially at the hour of trial,” he said.