Taste and see: taste and be

St Julianna

The Collect for Mass on Sunday, Corpus Christi, gently reminded of the final end of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The change in bread and wine – that it become Jesus present for us, and a means to our present participation in his once-and-for-all sacrifice at Calvary – is gifted to us that we too may change.

Christ gives himself that we may receive in him the gift of ourselves. Of him we receive the ability to become the people God made us to be, but which alone we cannot achieve.

Collect

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

In Christ we too can become fully human, even as, of his graciousness, we partake of, and share in, the fullness of his divinity.

  • How, in Christ, might you give of yourself today? For the upbuilding of the Church? And the healing of the world?

St Juliana – whose visions assisted in the establishing of the feast of Corpus Christi. Barber Institute. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

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Taste and See: Communion – lives connected


The Second reading at Mass yesterday, Corpus Christi, describes – and itself contributes to communion.

Paul has received and shares; Jesus has received and shares – an action of his own which embraces God and us. And now? Have we learnt the dance? Can we continue what has been thus begun?

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

In the Eucharist life leads to death which leads to life and eternal glory – not as inevitable cycle, but as expression of the truth that God is love, and the intent of Creation that we and all should live that communion of love. Now. Always. Everywhere.

  • How are you drawn into the communion of love present in Eucharist?
  • What is eucharistic in your life today? What of Sunday expresses itself in your Monday?

Screen depicting the Last Supper – behind which can be seen a relic of the table of the Last Super. St John Lateran. Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: source of all blessing


The First reading at Mass today, as we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, anticipates Jesus the High Priest, blessing and salvation for the world. 

The Gospel of the day presents that ministry through the ‘fractal’ of the ‘Multiplication of the loaves and fishes’.

The first reading reaches back into the ancient story of Melchizedek, King and priest whose blessing of Abraham prefigures Christ and his blessing of us.

Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High. He pronounced this blessing: 
‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth, 

and blessed be God Most High for handing over your enemies to you.’

And Abram gave him a tithe of everything. 

Genesis 14:18-20

  • What is blessing for you?
  • How do you receive it?
  • How do you share it?

Mosaic from site of the Multiplication of the loaves, Tabgha, Galilee. (c) 2013, Allen   Morris

Speak Lord: Christ, our Priest.

Melchizedek and Abel

The Responsorial Psalm on Sunday, Corpus Christi, acclaims the eternal priesthood of Christ – a priesthood that precedes and surpasses the cultic priesthood of the Temple, that achieves the most profound sanctification, salvation, of those for whom it is exercised.

The Hebrew psalm reaches back into the stories of Genesis to find imagery that is adequate to the ministry of Israel’s king. It is pressed into fresh service by  the Church to express the significance of Christ and his ministry, a ministry that finds its roots and meaning in Israel’s past but is now for the whole world and for ever.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord’s revelation to my Master:
‘Sit on my right:
your foes I will put beneath your feet.’

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord will wield from Zion
your sceptre of power:
rule in the midst of all your foes.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
‘You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek of old.’

You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.

Psalm 109:1-4

  • What helps you place your trust in Jesus?
  • Why?

Mosiac of Abel and Melchizedek. San Vitale,  Ravenna. (c) 2003, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: that we may be one


The Second reading at Mass this Sunday, Corpus Christi, is our oldest written account of the Eucharist. It comes from a letter of St Paul dated to the mid 50s, maybe twenty years before the Gospel of Mark, which offers a fuller account of the Passion of Jesus and the Last Supper.

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

The chain of witnesses, the unbroken chain that have treasured and passed on this sacramental action is our heritage and yet it is barely conceivable. There have been so many in so many places and circumstances. Yet it is important we try.

Gregory Dix famously did:

Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacle of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc—one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei—the holy common people of God.

The Shape of the Liturgy.

The Eucharist, this gift of the Lord, is re-presented to God, and us, when we faithfully obey the command of Lord. Our obedience and his faithfulness combining with such power and to such effect.

Eucharist is never just me or you and Jesus. It is always, gloriously and abundantly, us; always Church, the Body of Christ in all times and places, that we be one in him.

Tabernacle in church of Nowa Huta, Cracow, Poland. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: help us, help them.


Sunday, in England and Wales, is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The feast celebrates and honours Christ’s continued Presence for his people, sustaining us with himself as food and drink, and modelling for us the way of loving, sacrificial, service that all disciples are called to.

In the Gospel on Sunday the disciples, though not careless for the people, seem to think a more direct service of them is not their responsibility…

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing. 
It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

Luke 9:11-17

Too often we forget to ask for miracles – and are too slow to put ourselves out that they may be forthcoming.

Altar over the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Tabgha, Galilee. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.