Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today is “Corpus Christi Sunday,” a feast
established to remind us that, even as Lent and Easter are over, the mystery of Christ’s death and
resurrection and his continued presence on Earth remains with us in a most sublime way in the
Eucharist. In particular, we remember that the bread and wine really become the very Body and
Blood of Jesus Christ himself—His Real Presence among us. Just as surely as he was bodily
present on the Cross, at the Resurrection, and as He ascended to His Father in Heaven, he is also
surely present on the altar under the mere appearance of bread and wine.
Scripture tells us that the angels and saints in heaven continually “fell down and worshipped”
Jesus. How do we respond to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?
Do we show reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament? Do we genuflect before Our Lord
present in the tabernacle whenever we enter the church or whenever we pass in front of the
tabernacle? Do we chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?
How do we dress at Mass, especially on Sunday? Like we are going to the Wedding
Feast of Our King, or going to the beach? Do we remember that skimpy clothing can be a near
occasion of sin for others, and so dress modestly at Mass?
How do we act during Mass? Do we focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the
altar, especially during and after the consecration? Do we chat and laugh with each other, ignoring
the sublime miracle transpiring before us?
How do we receive Holy Communion? Do we observe the Eucharist fast for one hour
before Communion? Do we examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily (i.e., if we need
to confess mortal sins or are otherwise prohibited from receiving)? Do we approach prayerfully, or
are we looking around or laughing? Do we carefully show some sign of reverence immediately
before receiving Holy Communion: bowing or genuflecting, or kneeling?
If we receive on the tongue, to avoid any chance of the Host being dropped: Do we stand
close enough to the priest, open our mouths and extend our tongues? Do we hold still our heads,
tongues and mouths (not lurching, licking or biting) until we receive and the priest removes his
If we receive in our hand, 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 and reverently consume
the Host before (standing and) leaving the altar rail? Do we examine our hands for particles?
Do we remember after and outside of Mass? Do we stay a few minutes after Mass is over
to give thanks? Do we drop by the church during the week to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle, or
attend Exposition? Do we share our faith in the Eucharist with others, especially our children?
Cardinal Sarah. A few years ago I printed the following thought provoking admonition from Cardinal
Robert Sarah, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. I reprint it now and ask you to
read it prayerfully.
“…[T]he most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist,
by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and
his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful: Satan’s target
is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host. This robbery
attempt follows two tracks: the first is the reduction of the concept of ‘real presence.’ …
“Let us now look at how faith in the real presence can influence the way we receive
Communion, and vice versa. Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great
scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the
sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real
presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species: …The substance is the
same! It is Him! On the contrary, inattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma. Little
by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the
fragments…then it means that Jesus is not in them…”
“The second track on which the attack against the Eucharist runs is the attempt to remove
the sense of the sacred from the hearts of the faithful…. While the term ‘transubstantiation’ points us
to the reality of presence, the sense of the sacred enables us to glimpse its absolute uniqueness and

holiness. What a misfortune it would be to lose the sense of the sacred precisely in what is most
sacred! And how is it possible? By receiving special food in the same way as ordinary food…
“The liturgy is made up of many small rituals and gestures — each of them is capable of
expressing these attitudes filled with love, filial respect and adoration toward God. That is precisely
why it is appropriate to promote the beauty, fittingness and pastoral value of a practice which
developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is, the act of receiving Holy
Communion on the tongue and kneeling. The greatness and nobility of man, as well as the highest
expression of his love for his Creator, consists in kneeling before God. Jesus himself prayed on his
knees in the presence of the Father….
“In this regard I would like to propose the example of two great saints of our time… St. John
Paul II[‘s] …entire life was marked by a profound respect for the Holy Eucharist…. Despite being
exhausted and without strength… he always knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. He was unable to
kneel and stand up alone. …Until his last days, he wanted to offer us a great witness of reverence
for the Blessed Sacrament. Why are we so proud and insensitive to the signs that God himself offers
us for our spiritual growth and our intimate relationship with Him? Why do not we kneel down to
receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? ….
“St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta… had a respect and absolute worship of the divine Body of
Jesus Christ…[F]illed with wonder and respectful veneration, Mother Teresa refrained from touching
the transubstantiated Body of Christ. Instead, she adored him and contemplated him silently, she
remained at length on her knees and prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Moreover, she
received Holy Communion in her mouth, like a little child who has humbly allowed herself to be fed
by her God… The saint was saddened and pained when she saw Christians receiving Holy
Communion in their hands…
“…Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our
tongue. The saints give us the example….!”
Procession Today. Please join us today shortly after the 1pm Mass for our indoor Eucharistic
Procession with prayers, Adoration, and Benediction.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles