Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Blessed John Henry Newman was an Anglican Bishop who joined the Catholic Church and became a Cardinal. He famously said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” Many Protestants who studies the Church to better attack it, end up become Catholic themselves. Scott Hahn is a famous example. As we celebrate this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ I want to share words written by Saint Justin Martyr to the Roman Emperor around this year 150. He wanted to explain what Christians believed and did. Listen first to his description of how Christians worshiped. See how much it is like today.
“And on the day named after the sun, all who live in the city or country side assemble, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read for as long as time allows (READINGS). When the lector has finished, the presider addresses us, admonishing us and exhorting us to imitate the splendid things we have heard (PREACHING). Then we all stand and pray (GENERAL INTERCESSIONS).
“When we finish praying we greet each other with a kiss (SIGN OF PEACE). Then bread and a cup containing water and wine are brought to him who presides over the brethren. The wealthy who are willing make contributions, each as he pleases, and the collection is deposited with the presider who aids widows and orphans, those who are in want because of sickness, those in prison, and visiting strangers; in short he takes care of all who are in need (COLLECTION & BRINGING GIFTS TO THE ALTAR).
“He takes them (THE BREAD AND WINE) and offers prayer, glorifying the Father of all things through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit. …The presider offers prayers of thanksgiving and the people give their assent with an ‘Amen’ (THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER AND GREAT AMEN). “Those who we call ‘deacons’ distribute the bread and wine over which the thanksgiving has been spoken to each of those present; they also carry them to those who are absent (COMMUNION TO THE SICK & HOME BOUND)
Listen as Justin describes what Christians believe about the Eucharist: “For we do not receive these things as though they were ordinary food and drink. Just as Christ our Savior was made flesh through the Word of God and took on flesh and blood for our salvation, the food over which the thanksgiving has been spoken becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus in order to transform our flesh and blood.’”
Rejoice in the presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Receive this gift of Jesus’ Body and Blood.
Remember that are given this gift to share our faith with others.