Monday, June 7, 2010

Corpus Christi 2010

So how was your Corpus Christi celebration? Mine was, sadly, about what I’ve come to expect.

The celebration of Corpus Christi was established by Pope Urban IV via papal bull on September 8, 1264. It was to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The feast was further ratified by Urban’s successor, Pope Clement V and at the General Council of Vienne in 1311. Corpus Christi was explicitly established to extol the love of Our Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist. In many places, the celebration was transferred from the Thursday after Trinity Sunday to the second Sunday after Pentecost, and in modern times, the name was changed to The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ to emphasize that both the body and the blood are present in the Eucharist.

Clearly, the emphasis is Eucharistic – the mystery of Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament and the love with which Our Lord gave us that enduring presence for our food.

Good liturgy not only makes present to us and allows us to participate in the sacred mysteries, it also, through the many signs incorporated into the rite, edifies us. Immersion in good liturgy is a form of catechesis.

I have to preface my statements of disappointment by noting that I attended mass on Saturday evening because I wanted to run in a 10K on Sunday morning. It is possible, though I have my doubts, that the Sunday masses were different.

In lieu of Psalm 110, which is intimately tied to the first reading story of Melchizedek’s offering of bread and wine, our “sung Psalm response” was based on Psalm 40 (“Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will”). Not that there’s anything wrong with Psalm 40, but it doesn’t have the same clear connection to the readings.

The wonderful sequence before the Gospel was completely omitted. The missal even allows for a shorter form of the sequence, but even that was apparently too much for our celebrant. I raved about the sequence last year (when I attended at a different parish) and used it as an opportunity for catechizing my own children.

The closest we came to hearing a homiletic word about the Eucharist was a blessing of the (Extraordinary) Ministers of Communion. There was next to no emphasis on the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Rather, the emphasis was placed on our generosity and sharing (yes, there was even a suggestion that the multiplication of the loaves might have been a “miracle” of getting people to share what they had brought, rather than a foreshadowing of the generous outpouring of God’s grace in the Eucharist) and relaxing (because Jesus had the people sit down) with one another.

No processions. No hint of Thomistic theology regarding the Eucharist. Was it valid? Sure. Did it satisfy my Sunday commitment? Of course. Was I edified or inspired? Eh, not so much.


Anonymous said...

You should have came to mass with another parish! :)

Loukas said...

Here is an interesting entry on Corpus Christi, its history and spiritual meaning offering a broad perspective on various traditions and forms of piety. Certainly worth checking out: