Sunday, June 3, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi which is Latin for: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

Most Protestants and some Catholics don’t understand or perhaps have never been given a chance to understand what a great gift Christ gave us in the Eucharist. When he taught the Apostles how to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood as we see in the Gospels. I thought this article might shed some light on why this gift from Jesus is so important.

The Great Gift of the Eucharist by Deacon Omar Gutierrez: Sunday, June 3, is the Soemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ(Corpus Christi) Sunday. Mass readings: Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 116:12-13,15-16,17-18; Hebrews 9:11-15; Mark 14:12-16, 22-26. The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ recalls God’s constant movement toward us and the challenge of our response. The first reading from the Book of Exodus recalls the way Moses retified the decision of the people of Israel to follow the law of God. Having received God’s ordinances, Moses refers to the blood of young bulls he sacrificed as the “blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

The second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews notes that the new high priest, Christ Jesus, does not use “the blood of goats and calves,” but uses “his own blood.” This is because Jesus is both priest and sacrifice.

What’s more, whereas the sacrifice of Moses would cleanse our flesh, “the blood of Christ” will “cleanse our consciences from dead works to sorship the living God.”

The Gospel from St. Mark recalls the very moment of sacrifice, the beginning of the Paschal Mystery, when Jesus Institutes the Eucharist. Along with his Body, offered through the bread, Our Lord offers us his Blood, which he refers to as the “blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” Today we pause to appreciate the great gift that the Eucharist is and what it says about the kind of God we worship.

St. Theresa of Avila once marveled at the vulnerability of Our Lord in the Eucharist. One might be overcome by the chance to meet a king, said St. Teresa. However, it should never be forgotten that the King of the Universe has made himself available to us at all times, in every Catholic church. In every chapter of the story of salvation, Our Lord seeks us out and draws ever closer to us, to be with us in the most radical way in the Eucharist.

Today, as we revel in the unabashed love that the Lord pours on us through his true presence in the Eucharist, let us pray about how we allow this Holy Communion to transform our interactions with each other.

Omar Gutierrez is a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska.


The Catholic TV monthly magazine had an article about the History of Lent. I thought maybe some of you might be interested:

History of Lent-what did fasting used to look like: The Lenten season, preparation for Easter, has been observed from the onset of Christ’s Church, although there have been inconsistencies with duration and practices.  The Council of Nicea, 325AD, established Easter’s fluid date as the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox. In 461 AD, Pope St. Leo established the duration as 40 consecutive days before Easter. Pope Gregory the Great, in the sixth century, added the dispensing of ashes the preceding Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), making Lent 46 days. Sundays were considered feast days and not included in the count. (However, my mother informed us kids that if we gave up Movies for Lent we could not go on Sundays, or it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. Connie)

Initially, all forms of meat, fish and animal products were excluded for the entirety of Lent. People were allowed one meal per day, after 3 pm. In the 1400’s that time was revised to noon. Eventually, a small snack was included to sustain energy. Over time, fish, meat and eventually dairy products were allowed. However, fasting was require all 40 days. It wasn’t until 1966 that fast days were lessened to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday only. (Now, we give up meat on Fridays during Lent, along with Ash Wednesday)

WHY 40 DAYS????The number 40 has ecclesial significance: Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai before receiving the Ten Commandments; Jesus spent 40 days in prayer and fasting prior to beginning his ministry. So, too, we spend 40 days preparing to do God’s work.

WHY  DO WE HAVE PENITENTIAL SEASONS?  (This is a question many Christians ask Catholics, who quite often don’t know the answer) Jesus gave the example of a penitential retreat, spending prayerful time in the desert preparing for His ministry, reflecting on God’s will and determining how He’d freely make that happen. Penitential seasons offer us this same opportunity to withdraw from our routines and evaluate our spiritual progress or regression. We do this through reflection and repentance, which enable us to identify our weaknesses and make reparation to amend our sinful ways. Penitential seasons create time to reflect on our need to make God the focal point of our lives. The result can be spiritually rewarding. (Many Catholics spend extra time in prayer. Go to extra Masses, the Stations of the Cross, and other spiritual reading during Lent)


All Catholics, ages 14 and up, are bound by the law of abstinence. Abstinence means refraining from the consumption of meat (land animals) on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. Why Friday? To unite ourselves with Jesus’ sacrifice, made for us on Good Friday.

All Catholics, ages 18-59, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is defined as eating one full, meatless meal on prescribed days. Bits of food can be taken at other traditional meal times though their combined total should not equal a full meal.

Penitential practices, like fasting and abstinence, are intended to refocus our thoughts and intentions toward God. Lent’s 40 days include Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday (the Lenten fast continues until Holy Saturday), not including Sundays. Sundays are optional but encouraged. For health reasons, the infirm, ill, and pregnant or nursing mothers are exempt.

Three other Lenten disciplines are prayer (daily conversation with the Lord) fasting (from behaviors which detract from our relationship with God) and  almsgiving (sharing our resources, ensuring the basic needs of human dignity).

I WILL ADD; many Catholics like to go to the  Stations of the Cross usually on Friday if it is available in their Churches. The Stations of the Cross actually started before the Crusades when Christian were free to go to Jerusalem.  I read where they used to journey from Rome and Europe to Israel to follow the footsteps of Jesus to the Cross. Much like people do now. Then when the Muslims took over the Holy Lands and the Christians could not go there, they started setting up outdoor statues or pictures of what we now call the Passion of Christ. From the Last Supper to the capture in the garden, the whippings and crown of thorns thru the town, past the women, and when he had help carrying the cross and when He was nailed to the cross. Now Catholic Churches have pictures or carvings on the wall that go around the church, 14 stations showing the Passion of Jesus.  People say prayers at each station and they are called the Stations of the Cross.  It follows the story of His Passion in the Bible Gospels. Usually on Good Friday, when possible, the Stations are said at 3PM, the time that Jesus died.

GIVING ALMS: During Lent as with other times of the year, but especially during Lent, we can give up something we spend money on, coffee, candy, movies, whatever, and give that money to the poor. Examples; the Salvation Army, Local Food Cupboards or you can look up Catholic Relief Services (CRS) or Catholic Charities for example, all these organizations help people who are desperate for help.  Catholics have what we call a “Rice Bowl” we put on the table or somewhere in our home where everyone can drop money in, on Easter we put the money in an envelope marked RICE BOWL put it in the collection basket,and the Church sends all the money to Catholic Relief Services to feed the poor in other countries.  You can look up CRS Rice Bowl on line: To get more information. Catholics have been donating to CRS for many years. They are all over the world helping and teaching the poor how to  feed and support themselves and they are at places of devastation like Haiti helping people to recover and start over.


Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. (Jer 17:7)

The papal motto of Blessed John Paul II was TOTUS TUUS (“totally yours”).  This statement of trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary is not an unimportant factor in reflecting on the life of this great pope.  John Paul, following the Marian piety of Saint Louis de Montfort, entrusted all his prayers and works to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We would do well to entrust all our cares and our very lives to her, for she is “the safest, easiest, shortest and mort perfect way” to Jesus and to sanctity. (Treatise on the True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort,55).


I know that a lot of religions do not honor Mary as we Catholics do, nor do they call her the Blessed Virgin Mary.  So in that case, they may wonder why Pope John Paul had such trust in Mary’s help.   I will try to answer some of these questions in the future, but smarter minds than mine have had 2000 years to figure this out.  For more information, go to:  There you can find answers to your questions.