Yesterday was the Feast of Corpus Christi. It’s the feast day in the Church’s liturgical year where we commemorate the great gift of Jesus Christ present in the little white host you see people consuming at Mass on Sunday.
That’s right, you read that correctly: Catholics believe that the host is Jesus Christ Himself, fully present: body, blood, soul, and divinity. From the earliest times, Christians have always believed Jesus’ teaching about His flesh being the bread he talked about in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6. In the thirteenth century, a practice developed to process with the Blessed Sacrament (that little white host) through the streets as an evangelical witness and as a sign of our faith.
This past Sunday we did just that, taking Our Lord to the streets around my local parish. This year we were blessed with a young lady playing the bagpipes too. That’s not something you normally associate with a Eucharistic procession, but it was something to behold. Quite fitting I thought.
I’m not sure if we’ll be permitted to do this much longer. It will depend on whether the Canadian authorities and the Human Rights Commissions determine whether the local village atheist-idiot or Islamic Jihadist has more rights than we do. But for now, we’ll keep the tradition going.
Here is a picture of the backside of the front of the procession. You’ll notice the canopy and priest underneath it, holding Our Lord. My two girls are carrying the Eucharistic banner:
Here is a frontal shot of the procession. The priest carries the host which is contained in a brass-plated vessel, know as a monstrance:
A priest friend of mine related a story which occurred only a few years ago in a small town in Alberta. Some thieves had broken into a church and stolen some liturgical items. They also happened to take what to them was merely a piece unleavened flat bread. The priest reported the break-in to police and made particular mention of the host being stolen as well. The liturgical vessels can be replaced, but recovering the host was the most important thing since it remains the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ until it is consumed. As an aside, you’ll understand why Satanic cults are so eager to get their hands on that host. You can imagine what they would like to do with it. Anyhow, the police were tipped off with a report about some strange things happening in a nearby forest. Shortly thereafter, the priest was called in by the police. When he arrived, he saw two of the cops on their knees, transfixed by the host which was suspended in mid-air. I can’t remember the rest of the story, except that these cops were converted to the Catholic faith. There have been many of these Eucharistic miracles over the past centuries, but we never hear of them in this country.
Here is a little Q&A that I made up many years ago. The numbers after Jesus’ answers are the verses of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John.
Q. Who are you, Jesus?
A. I am the bread of life. (48)
Q. What kind of bread are you?
A. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. (51a)
Q. What are we to do with this “living bread” and what will this “living bread” do for us?
A. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. (51b)
Q. Where can we find this bread?
A. This bread is my flesh. (51c)
Q. What “flesh” are you talking about?
A. …my flesh which I will give for the life of the world. [on Calvary] (51d)
Q. What does the Resurrection have to do with your flesh?
A. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (54)
Q. Just what kind of flesh is it? Can you be more specific? Is it some kind of symbolic thing? How do we eat a symbol?
A. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (55)
Q. Why is your flesh so special? Why is it necessary to eat your flesh?
A. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (56)
Q. Why is it important to remain “in you”? Are you claiming some divine status for your body, so that, in “eating” your body, your followers can be like you and share in your resurrection, the resurrection of their physical bodies? Is that what you are telling us?
A. …so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (57,58)
Q. This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? (60)
A. Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! (61, 62)
Q. How can feeding on mere human flesh contribute to one’s salvation?
A. The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (63)
Q. Are you saying that your flesh counts for nothing or do you mean mere human flesh counts for nothing?
A. I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. (53)
Q. So are you saying that your flesh is somehow divine, then?
A. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (33) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. (51a) This bread is my flesh. (51c)