It's also a sort of nickname for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, (the Body and Blood of Christ). (Canon 1246) What we celebrated today is often called the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It's done in English partly, I suspect, because quite a few Americans don't know all that much Latin.
Using English to describe today's solemnity takes longer than saying it in Latin - but it's in the language most Americans understand, and I think it's a good idea to make sure that folks know just what it is they're celebrating.
The Savior of Humanity Shows up in Person: So What?What's the big deal about Mass?
Me? I go because Jesus is there. My Lord. Second Person in the Trinity. Son of the Living God. Through Whom all things were made.1 Physically present in a parish church, here in central Minnesota.
Offhand, I'd say that's a pretty big deal.
Not that Jesus recorded any records that went platinum, or won an Olympic medal. The Man whose name means "God saves"2 has never been interviewed by David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres, or Oprah. Even so, I think it makes sense to worship the Son of God who died, horribly: and didn't stay dead.
The Eucharist in a monstrance: adoration after Mass at Our Lady of the Angels, Sauk Centre. June 26, 2011.
3 Jesus, my Lord, really is there - it is his Body and Blood. (Catechism, 1333; John 6:51-58)
And, yes: we really gnaw on the flesh of my Lord. (footnote 19 of John:6) Gnaw. Munch. Like an animal chewing. Really. No kidding.
Like they said, "...'This saying is hard; who can accept it?' " (John 6:60)
"This Saying is Hard"About two thousand years later, even a gung ho Catholic like me thinks "this saying is hard." But if I didn't think chewing on the flesh of my Savior was important, I wouldn't be there.
I converted to Catholicism because I thought it made sense. I wouldn't be at Mass if I didn't believe that what I receive really is the Body of my Lord. Like they say, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.4
Do I taste meat when I chew? No. I don't expect to.4
But I don't need to see bread turn into muscle, or wine into blood, to believe that Jesus is present. Some folks do - and get a demonstration. And that's another topic.5
I don't have to run into walls to believe that they're really there. Which is a metaphor that can't be taken very literally.
And that's yet another topic.
- "The Road to Emmaus, and Rome, and Sauk Centre, and - - -"
(May 8, 2011)
- "Celebrating Mass, Flossing My Teeth"
(October 20, 2010)
- "Really 'Spiritual' Experiences: Those are Okay"
(April 22, 2010)
- "Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday: Yeah, It's a Pretty Big Deal"
(April 1, 2010)
- "Catholics Invented Transubstantiation Like Newton Invented Gravity"
(September 21, 2009)
- "After 93 years, Corpus Christi procession to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia"
CNA (Catholic News Agency) (June 23, 2011)
1 See "Declaration 'Dominus Iesus' on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church," Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
2 Catechism, 430
3 I think Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1406-1419 might be a good place to start - followed by 1326-1405.
4 Catechism, 1374
5 See "Message to Archbishop Enzio d'Antonio of Lanciano-Ortona," John Paul II, From Castel Gandolfo (August 6, 1999)