Our current celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ), was started in the 1270s. It was originally set on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Why Thursday? Because it was on Holy Thursday that Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. However, after the Second Vatican Council, some Bishops’ Conferences around the world transferred the feast to the following Sunday, and the United States was one of them. Still some countries maintain the feast on Thursday and have wonderful processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Thomas Aquinas composed many of the hymns for this feast: Adoro Te Devote, Pange Lingua, and Humbly We Adore You. While it is a wonderful tradition to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is more important to receive Him at Mass. After all, Jesus tells us, “I am the living bread come down from heaven…, if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.” (John 6:51-52). That’s the best reason to celebrate this feast and the Eucharist as we give thanks and praise to God.
- Fr. Carl