Sunday, June 26, is the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in the United States.
Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Corpus Christi on June 23, the date that most of the Church celebrates the solemnity. He will celebrate Mass at 7pm at St. John Lateran Basilica and then lead a Eucharistic procession to St. Mary Major Basilica, where he will give a Eucharistic blessing.
Go to RomeReports.org to see a video report of the Holy Father’s activities.
Here are some films that have powerful scenes about the Eucharist:
The Mission (1986) culminates with a great scene of devotion to the Eucharist. Elements in the film — native Indian nudity, violence and ambiguous role models — mean you have to be choosy about which children in your family can see it.
The Passion of the Christ (2004) was made by a man who is outside the Church. It was a hit with Protestant evangelical audiences, but it presents a richly Catholic Eucharistic theology. The film cross-cuts scenes of the institution of the Eucharist with scenes of the Passion to show that the Mass is a liturgical presentation of Christ’s one sacrifice.
Romero (1989) does not make clear enough distinctions between a purely “horizontal” liberation theology and the “vertical” God-centered spirituality of the Church. But the scene of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero during Mass is a dramatic reminder of the significance of the Eucharist to the Church’s opponents as well as its believers.
The Miracle of Marcelino (1955) is a movie about the Eucharist’s extraordinariness. The story is a memorable Eucharistic parable about Christ’s miraculous entry into a boy’s life.
Marty (1955) is a movie about the Eucharist’s “ordinariness.” The Catholic characters have a very natural way of living their faith, making plans to see each other after Mass and respectfully incorporating the Church as a part of their lives.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58
Our family has been blessed for the past 13 years to be at parishes that provide Eucharistic processions on Corpus Christi.
At St. Mary’s parish in New Haven, Conn., we would process around a block on the Yale University campus. In Atchison, Kan., we process around a Benedictine College block.
We love Eucharistic processions: leaving the dark of the church and going into broad daylight, marching behind the Blessed Sacrament with fellow parishioners. And it happens to be a perfect way to echo the lessons of today’s readings.
n God leads his people. In the first reading, God reminds the people what he has done for them: He led them out of Egypt and along the way provided for their needs with manna from heaven. As we follow the priest in a Eucharistic procession, the real presence of Jesus Christ leads the way for us, reminding us that God still provides direction and sustenance on our journey to him.
n We are one. The Eucharist is a “participation in the body of Christ,” writes Paul in the second reading, “We, though many, are one body.” As military personnel, sports teams and marching bands all know, processions are a great expression of unity. When we march together behind the monstrance, we show the world — and remind ourselves — about the unity Paul writes about.
n The Eucharist is a sign of contradiction. In today’s Gospel, Christ uses the strongest possible language to be clear about the doctrine of his real presence in the Eucharist. “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink,” he says. But the Jews quarrel among themselves and disagree with him: Such a thing is not possible, they say. When a parish marches down a street in a Eucharistic procession, you can’t help but remember that Christ’s words about his Eucharistic presence are still rejected today. But by standing with him in his sign of contradiction, his grace can boost our own faith.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.