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June 3, 1994     The Message
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1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 Commentary -- for Passover: Biblical foundation for the Eucharist Gospel commentary for June 1994, Corpus Christi: Cycle B, 14:12.16, 22-26. ,Today, the last Sunday before Church resumes the "ordinary" we solemnly honor the and blood of Jesus in which share at every Mass. At least original emphasis of this feast body of Jesus as it is re- pt in the tabernacle. feast was called "Corpus Feast of the Body Christ." Before the thirteenth there was no such celebra- or commemoration. #(N FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST the first thousand years of the Church's Eucharist was viewed more as an action lasting presence reserved in the taberna- emphasis was on Jesus as sacrifice and food, just as the ancient Israelites and d in sacrifice by eating of the sacrifi: food. This emphasis on Jesus as sacrificial food aot exclude the the presence of Jesus in frag- ad that remained after celebration of L This at least seems to be clear from L Christians took fragments of the con- bread home and especially to the sick and ; as "Viaticum," which we may translate as for the journey" into the next life. Not only carried Viaticum to the dying but lay poD- , both men and women. Beyond this there does Seem to have been any special reverence given in reservation, i.e. kept in a the eleventh century a man named Berengar- ius, who later died at peace with the Church, denied that there was any change in the bread after the words "This is my body" were spo- ken over it. What was bread before, he taught, remained bread after- ward. At most the consecrated bread was a sign or symbol of the body of Christ. There was no "real presence" of Jesus under the out- ward forms of bread and wine. Church officials reacted strongly to Berengarius' teachings. They were condemned in a council held at Rome. In the twelfth century a new movement developed to honor Jesus in the reserved sacrament, i.e. the fragments of bread reserved or kept in the tabernacle. The em- phasis was put on adoration of the sacrament apart from the Mass. A contributing factor was the de- clining participation in communion by the laity. In popular practice the Mass had become something to "attend" or watch rather'than something in which all intimately participate. Looking at the consecrated bread at its elevation during the eu- charistic prayer became a substitute for commu- nion. The atmosphere was now conducive to a feast in honor of the eucharist as remaining or as "real Presence." A saintly woman, Juliana of Liege, Bel- gium, had a vision in 1209 of a splendid full moon with one dark corner. The vision was repeated many times. Somehow she concluded that the dark spot represented the absence of a feast in honor of the Real Presence or Blessed Sacrament. In 1246 the bishop of Liege established such a feast for his diocese. Some years later an official of the Church in Liege became Pope Urban IV. In response to a claimed miracle in which a priest celebrating Mass had seen blood coming from the consecrated bread, the Pope extended the the "Feast of Corpus Christi" to the whole Church. He commissioned Thomas Aquinas to compose the liturgy for this feast. We use Aquinas' liturgy to this day. Although the papal decree was at first resisted and ignored, by the first part of the fourteenth century this feast was popu- larly accepted and celebrated with great pomp and splendor. Today the pendulum seems to be swinging back to pre-eleventh century practice with regard to presence of Jesus in the sacrament. The emphasis and the central position of the tabernacle has been replaced by emphasis on the centrality of the altar. The emphasis on adoration of the Eucharist re- served in the tabernacle has been replaced by a great effort to bring about heightened participation of the people in the liturgy of the Mass. Some are pleased by this change of emphasis, while others are offended. What appeals to some may not appeal to others. We are a great Church that has room for both approaches to the Sacrament. While we grate- fully accept the Mass and active participation in it as our greatest act of worship and adoration, let us not forget to provide a place and an atmosphere in our churches for quiet prayer and worship of the Blessed Sacrament. In Matthew 13:52 we are told that those who have been "trained for the kingdom of heaven bring out of their treasure both what is new and what is old." Readings for Corpus Christi, Exodus 24:3.8; Hebrews 9:11-15. i: ! i i % -- 11 II I II INSURANCE SERVICE Subscribe to the Message ] I Auto! Home! Fire.& Life! Your Personal Servme Agent kes L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. 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