Carmel Bulletin, 19 June 2022

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.  It is a time for us to recall and celebrate our belief that our God is present in the Eucharist that we receive.

The Eucharist we receive, of course, becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus through our Eucharistic celebration: the Mass.  Through our celebration of Mass, Christ is certainly made present through the Eucharist, but also through the assembly that celebrates, the person of the presider, and the proclamation of the Scriptures.

The Mass is not just a re-enactment of a past event.  Jesus is with us and among us here and now, and the bread and wine we offer is given back to us, transformed.  We come to the altar to share in the sacrificial meal of Christ himself, in order that we (as St Augustine once said) may become what we receive.

It is important, therefore, that we receive the Eucharist that is consecrated at the Mass in which we participate whenever possible, rather than from a previous Mass.  The introduction to the Missal explains:

It is most desirable that the faithful, just as the Priest himself is bound to do, receive the Lord’s Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the cases where this is foreseen, they partake of the chalice, so that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 85

At each of our Sunday Masses, enough bread is prepared for those who have gathered to receive Communion that has been consecrated at that Mass.  The Eucharist that remains may be placed in the ciborium and reserved in the tabernacle.  In this way, the connection between what we receive is more truly the fruit of what we celebrate.

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