Ampleforth Abbey

25 February 2018

Echoes of the Word 29th May 2016

Corpus Christi Luke 9:11b-17

Whenever we know we are going on a long journey one of the first things we do is ensure we have a decent packed lunch to keep us going while we go from A to B! We know that peckish feeling all too well and look forward to the delights we have prepared for ourselves. The feast of Corpus Christi is a reminder to us that there is a deeper hunger in each one of us – a hunger for love, for serenity, for acceptance. No amount of earthly food will satisfy this hunger – God alone can give us what we need. We must not be afraid to come to him, as did the 5,000 in Galilee. They hungered for something which Jesus alone could give them – a sense of hope and meaning for their lives. As we celebrate Corpus Christi this year let us speak honestly to the Lord about our hunger and our needs, and believe that the Lord will indeed give us this day our daily bread and so much more besides! Let us give thanks ‘eucharistein’ for the gift which Jesus gives to us – the gift of himself.

Fr Kieran Monahan OSB

Reflection on the Eucharist

The Catholic Mass provokes strong reactions. Some argue that the ‘Hokey Cokey’ dance and the phrase ‘hocus pocus’ developed as parodies of ‘hoc est corpus meum’, the Latin translation of Jesus’ words at the last supper, ‘this is my body’. The Mass can come across to some as ridiculous ritual and outrageous magic, a view only supported by misinterpretations of the celebration of Corpus Christi. For Catholics the Eucharist that we offer is not theatrical ritual, the Sacrament that we adore is not a magical object. Theatre entertains through artful manipulation of action, music, lights. The Eucharist by contrast is remarkably sober, grounding the liturgy in fixed readings and earthing the emotions in faithful prayer. Magic changes appearances in order to mislead, like a body ‘sawn’ in half. The Mass is the opposite. When the priest holds aloft the consecrated host, and declares, ‘Behold the Lamb of God’, there is no attempt to make the bread look anything other than bread. There is no melodrama, no magic, only faith, our faith in the God who gives away His Son, and God’s faith in a humanity that can receive that gift. We are not spectators weeping at the theatre, onlookers gaping at the trickery. We are guests at a banquet.

Fr Chad Boulton OSB