Corpus Christi- Solemnity Of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 21, 2014 Column Father De Celles

Corpus Christi Sunday. Today Holy Mother Church calls us to appreciate more fully the rich meaning of the Most Holy Eucharist. While we also do this on Holy Thursday, the other great mysteries we remember during Holy Week and the Triduum may cause us to not spend as much time focusing on the Sacrament as we might. So today’s feast was established to pause and look at the mystery more carefully.


Through this Great Sacrament we are able to participate in the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, 2000 years after the event in history, as at Holy Mass the one same sacrifice of the Cross is offered on the altar and Christ becomes truly present under the appearances of bread and wine. At the altar He unites our sacrifices and love to His offered on the Cross to His Heavenly Father. In Holy Communion the Lord, Creator and Redeemer of the universe, comes to us personally, in the flesh, entering into us and abiding in us. And as the Mass ends, Christ remains inside of us as we take Him out into the world, and He gives us the grace to proclaim His glory. And he also remains in the tabernacle, truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity, to all who visit the church. And there’s so much more.


How much of the truth about the Eucharist do we take for granted, or forget? How much do we not even know? Over the last 50 years many of the truths about the Eucharist have been downplayed, ignored, or even denied in preaching and catechesis. Thanks be to God, St. Raymond’s parishioners have developed a strong devotion to the Eucharist. Our beautiful church building testifies to this, saying: “this is the house of the Lord, where He is worshipped adored and loved, and where He remains truly, bodily, present.”


Even so, there is still much work to do for all of us. As St. John Paul II use to say, “the body speaks.” The bodily Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ speaks to us saying, “I love you,” “This is my body given up for you,” and “Behold I will be with you always.” But how do our bodies speak back to Him? Our bodily expressions of faith and devotion toward the Eucharist speak volumes, both to others and to ourselves. If you tell your child “I love you” with a bored tone, or if you never smile or hug your child, what does this tell them, and how does it affect your love for them? On the other hand: if you speak with a sincere tone and if you show affection in your actions, it not only more clearly communicates love to them, it reminds you to always treat them with love.


So please consider the following. DO WE:

genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle whenever we enter the church (usually before sitting in our pew) or whenever we pass in front of the tabernacle?

chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?

drop by church during the day or evening to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle?

spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?

come to Mass dressed like we’re going to the Wedding Feast of Our King, or going to the beach?

dress modestly at Mass, remembering that immodest clothing can be a near occasion of sin for others?

focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar during Mass, especially during and after the consecration?

receive Holy Communion reverently?

observe the Eucharistic fast for one hour before Communion?

examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily

confess our mortal sins to a priest before going to Communion?

approach Communion prayerfully, not looking around or laughing?

show some sign of reverence immediately before receiving Holy Communion: bowing or genuflecting, or even kneeling?

If we receive in our hands:

Do we wash our hands before Mass?

Do we extend both hands, one on top of the other, forming a throne for Our King?

Do we immediately reverently consume the Host in the sight of the priest/EMHC?

Do we examine our hands to make sure no particles remain?

Do we stay until Mass is over, and even afterwards to give thanks, or do we rush out of church as soon as possible?

Do we share our faith in the Eucharist with others?

Do we teach our children to do these things?


I am always moved and edified by the level of reverence our parish displays at Mass and during Communion. But we can all use a reminder now and again, especially on the annual Feast of Corpus Christi.


“Fortnight for Freedom.” Yesterday (Saturday) we began the third annual “Fortnight for Freedom” to pray for the protection of Religious Liberty, running from June 21 to July 4 (Independence Day). More than ever we need to pray, sacrifice, and give public witness as the Government continues to try force Christians, and especially Catholics, to accept a new secular morality, especially through recent regulations and court rulings contradicting our deeply held beliefs regarding contraception, abortion and marriage. These efforts deny our God given and constitutionally protected religious liberty and freedom of conscience. With all my heart, I strongly urge you to join us in prayerfully observing this “Fortnight for Freedom.”


Last week’s bulletin included a schedule of the Fortnight events taking place in the church. I’d also like to call your attention to other ways we will observe the Fortnight:

After every Mass we will pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” found in the pews (except when it is prayed during a Holy Hour before or after Mass).

All parishioners are encouraged to do one or more of the following:

Pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily

Pray the Rosary daily

Offering special penances/sacrifices

Pray the Novena to St. Thomas More.


Please see the 2-sided insert in this bulletin for a copy of the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” the “Novena to St. Thomas More.”


Vacation Bible School. Once again St. Raymond’s will be running Vacation Bible School this summer. This year’s program runs July 21 to 25 from 9:30am to noon, with the theme “Parade Around the Our Father.” All children in kindergarten through 6th grade are invited and encouraged to attend, and high school volunteers are needed. See the note below in the Religious Education section for more info. Please sign up as soon as possible.
Go Spurs, Go! I know all of you joined me in rejoicing and thanking God when the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA championship last Sunday. As you may recall, I was born and lived in San Antonio all my life until I moved here on my 31st birthday. What you may not know is that for many years I was Spurs season ticket holder. Sometimes I really miss Texas.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles