Extinguishing candles after Solemn High Mass and Benediction at St Agatha’s, Portsmouth.
The Feast of Corpus CHRISTI is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, it is a Double Feast of the first class with an Octave. Within this Octave only Double Feasts may be kept, Semi-doubles and Simples being merely commemorated. The days in the Octave must be always commemorated, no matter what Feast may occur, and the Octave Day will only give place to a Double Feast of the first class. The rules given (p. 13) as to the first and second Evensong of the Octave Day of the Feast of the Ascension apply also to the Octave Day of the Feast of Corpus CHRISTI .
The Office Hymns to be used daily throughout the Octave are, at Evensong, Pange lingua gloriosi (Hymnal Noted, 211 and 212; H. A. M., 309 (i. and ii.); People’s Hymnal, 166), and at Mattins, Sacris solemniis (Hymnal Noted, 217), or Verbum supernum prodiens (Hymnal Noted, 55; H. A. M., 311 (i. and ii.); People’s Hymnal, 167).
Every day a priest will offer the Sacrifice of Jesus to the Father on behalf of our sins just as he did on Calvary. At the same time the Protestants will point out and rightly that the Sacrifice that Jesus made on Calvary is according to Scripture the One and Only Sacrifice and cannot be repeated. So why does the Catholic Church do something which contradicts scripture or does it contradict scripture?
To answer this we must start with the Book of Malachi 1:11. “From the rising of the sun until its setting my name is great among the gentiles and everywhere there is offered sacrifice – a spotless victim”. Malachi was at odds with the Jewish priests of his time whom he claimed were breaking the Law by offering injured or infirm animals rather than the best of the flock and so were making a mockery of the word sacrifice. The Church recently put this piece of scripture back into the vernacular version of the Mass and the priest reads it just before he offers the sacrifice. Few understand where it came from. We move on to the Passover meal of Jesus when just before he was arrested offered them bread and said “This is my Body which will be given up for you” and taking the wine he said “This is my blood of the New and Eternal Testament will will be shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins” He then added “DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME”. In so saying he was fulfilling the prophesy of Malachi for from thence forward Jesus was recognised in the breaking of bread by the travellers to Emmaus and the practice of the early christians who spent their time in prayer and the breaking of Bread
In the houses and catacombs in the early days to the building of churches which housed the whole community a spotless sacrifice was offered in memory of the Passion of Jesus and the people received the Body and Blood of Jesus. But why? As we know when the Jews made a Sacrifice the victim was then shared among the people who participated ini the sacrifice be eating of the sacrificed animal. Thus the victim became part of them and they became pleasing to God. In the same way then the Church became aware that the Mass was not a repeat of Calvary but Calvary itself. At Mass we are all present at Calvary and we all share in the body and Blood of Jesus. We do not celebrate a memorial, something dead and gone, but in some way Jesus reaches out to all his followers in all ages to forgive the sins of their ages and so that they can truly participate in his Sacrifice on the Cross and receive here and now the fruits of that Sacrifice in the sharing in his Body and Blood. At Mass we can also share our little sacrifices we make in our daily life to God the Father.
A Common Mass throughout the world demanded a unity of the liturgy and although the early breaking of bread was in Rome said in Greek about 180 AD it was changed to Latin and because of the Roman Peace it soon was said in Latin throughout the known world. We were not just a local Community but a World Community all saying the same prayers and offering the Sacrifice in the one language. A truly united Church. I will avoid the question of the vernacular and go on to unity. WE cannot go to Communion with different beliefs in the presence of Jesus. It is insulting to Jesus to pretend we are in unity when all you have to do is scratch the surface and find wounded people. Yes, we offer the sacrifice together, we say the prayers together and yes, we should be a community together but we are a Church where the reforms of the seventies deeply divided us into winners and losers. The winners were those who got the Church that they wanted and the losers had to do what they were told. I remember just last year a woman complaining that she was ‘forced’ to kneel for Communion. I and others remember how in the seventies were were forced to stand and keep our mouths shut. Yes the sacrifice is a Community as far as it goes, but receiving Jesus in Holy Communion is a personal thing and if someone wants to stand let him or her stand but if someone wants to kneel then give the facility for him or her to kneel. Surely that should not even be questioned?