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Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.
BY Tom & April Hoopes
Sunday, May 25, is the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
(Corpus Christi) in the United States. Corpus Christi is celebrated in Rome
(and most of the Church) on Thursday, May 22. Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass
at the Basilica of St John Lateran at 7 p.m., to be followed by a Eucharistic
procession to St. Mary Major basilica in Rome.
EPriest.com shares Best Practices suggestions from parishes.
Perfect for Corpus Christi, Father Slider Steuernol at St.
Agatha’s in the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., offers a way to teach the Mass.
The EPriest site quotes him saying, “I have done this for about three years and
people really like it. It takes very little time, is easy to do, and can really
help educate the faithful in the ‘whys’ of Mass which they may have never heard
He takes 30 seconds to a minute at the end of each Mass,
just before the dismissal, and gives a “Mass Moment,” explaining the meaning of
some part of the Mass or some sign or symbol used in the Mass.
Here are some examples that have been used as point of
information for the parishioners:
• Why do we cross ourselves over the forehead, mouth, and
heart before reading the Gospel?
• What does the Church teach about the Real Presence?
• Why do we have times of silence after readings, homily and
• How do I to receive Communion?
• What is the meaning of the liturgical vestments?
• Why do we carry the book of the Gospels into church at the
start of Mass?
More details on the Mass Moment are given at the EPriest
Today’s a good day to show off pictures of mom and dad at
their own first Communion. Tom received his when he was 5, so he likes to brag
about having received Communion more than most Catholics his age. We’re also
blessed to have a photo of Tom’s late mom at her first Communion, so we can
show that to the children.
April tells them the story of her mom’s first Communion as
an adult — which April attended when she was 10. The real presence of Christ in
Communion is one of the things Grandma Sheila most appreciates about the
Catholic Church as a convert.
Pope2008.com is the Register’s papal blog. Check out the
site this weekend for pictures of Benedict’s papal procession.
HolyHeroes.com offers some great products for kids.
The Blessed Imelda “Glory Story” CD and coloring book are
nice ways to show children the true greatness of the real presence of Christ in
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20; 1
Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58.
EPriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.
Today’s readings are rich with theological details about the
real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. St. Paul reminds us that the cup and
the bread are a “participation in” the blood and body of Christ. Christ himself
reminds us that “whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
But before all of the more complicated things we can learn
about the Eucharist, we like to stress the basics. Why does Christ appear
looking like bread in the first place? Here are some points to consider.
1. Bread is something we take into our bodies. It becomes
part of us. The Eucharist, then, is God’s way of driving home the fact that he
wants to continue his work through us.
2. Bread is ordinary. It’s something very common and
unremarkable. We would never be inclined to worship it. So it should be clear
to all that something extraordinary and “super-human” has happened when we
worship the Host in adoration and in the Mass.
3. Bread is universal. Practically every culture makes a
form of bread. By choosing this mode of appearance, he is reaching out to all
4. Bread is one thing made out of many grains. Thus, the
Eucharist becomes a symbol of the unity of the Christian people, who together
make up the mystical body of Christ.
5. Bread is able to be reserved. Although it is perishable,
unleavened bread can last in a reserved form. Thus, when Christ takes this
form, his real presence can remain in our tabernacles for adoration apart from
The Hoopeses are editorial directors of Faith & Family magazine