Feast of Corpus Christi) Sacrament of Love
Dear Fr. Thomas,
Two years ago I was returning from a pilgrimage in Europe. A movie was playing on the airplane. I don’t remember the name of it, and I fell asleep before it ended. But one particular scene was noteworthy.
Robert Di Nero returns to his old neighborhood after a ten year prison term. He visits a schoolboy friend who now owns an expensive restaurant. As they talk he asks his friend about his sister. All during his prison term Robert Di Nero thinks about his friend’s sister and wonders how long it will take for her to find someone else and forget him. As young people they enjoyed each other’s company and loved to dance together. Their favorite song was “Ammapola.”
But now things were different. He has been away so long, is a social outcast because he is a convict, and has no money in his pocket. He feels ashamed because he is a total disgrace, a misfit with nothing to offer her. Surely she is no longer interested in him and is probably married to someone else.
The brother told Robert Di Nero that the sister has not married and was, as a matter of fact, present at the restaurant that very evening. The brother points his sister out. Now that she is grown up, she is the most gorgeous woman that Robert Di Nero ever laid his eyes on.
The brother makes a signal to the orchestra as Robert Di Nero and the sister meet. They start dancing to their old favorite song “Ammapola.”
Scared and nervous because he feels so inferior, he finally asks the question. “Please tell me. Was there even a time that you thought of me while I was gone?”
Her answer: “There was never a time I wasn’t thinking of you while you were gone.”
She waited and each day made her longing even greater. Why I write this today on the Feast of Corpus Christi, Thomas, is because of what Our Holy Father tells us about Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “Jesus waits for you with open arms in this sacrament of His love.” (Dominicae Cenae)
In other words, Jesus is there waiting for you in the Blessed Sacrament. If He didn’t care, he would not be there. It’s like the old song says “If I didn’t care … more than words can say … If I didn’t care … would I feel this way … is that not love … for, if I didn’t care … would it be the same … would my every prayer begin and end with just your name … be sure that this is love beyond compare … all of this is true because I care for you …”
The purpose of today’s feast day is to remind us of how much Jesus cares for us in the Blessed Sacrament. In the 13th century He appeared to Saint Juliana and showed her a moon with a dark spot on it. He explained that he moon represented the Liturgical Calendar and the dark spot represented a feast day that was missing that He wanted instituted.
Jesus said that as the church progressed in time, it would decline in faith in His Real Presence. This is in keeping with His gospel question of finding any faith at all when He returns. For this reasons, He said it would be necessary to have a special feast day to remind everyone of His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. St. Juliana remarked that there was Holy Thursday dedicated to the Eucharist. Jesus answered that Holy Thursday also celebrated the holy priesthood. He wanted a feast day exclusively to honor His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. And that is how the feast of Corpus Christi came about.
On August of 1980 a major hurricane hit a city in Texas called Corpus Christi. We call it a typhoon. They call it a hurricane. It started in the Caribbean between two islands, one St. Vincent, the other St. Lucia.
Soon after the hurricane a very brave and courageous Bishop was named the ordinary of the diocese of Corpus Christi. His name is Bishop Rene Gracida. He writes this for Immaculata magazine:
“On the occasion of an Ad Limina visit several years ago, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, made the statement that it must be very fortunate to be bishop of a diocese, the only diocese in the world, named Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. I told him on that occasion, as I have told many others, that I do indeed feel very privileged.”
Bishop Gracida was the first Bishop in the United States to invite the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament into his diocese. Many parishes in his diocese now have perpetual adoration as the result.
This invitation came about through a letter Kirk and Katie Pfeffer wrote to Rex Moses. Rex was working in the diocese with Operation Rescue. Kirk and Katie wrote Rex about perpetual adoration.
Rex showed that letter to Bishop Gracida. This is when the Bishop invited Fr. Martin Lucia and the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament into the diocese.
From Corpus Christi, Texas, the Missionaries were invited by four different Bishops to the State of Louisiana. From Louisiana to Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Through the super-dedicated efforts of lay people like Mary Ann Becksted and Pat Forton, they have been invited into dioceses from Georgia to Michigan.
When I think of the name hurricane, the wedding of Cana comes to my mind. To “hurry” the “wedding,” Perpetual adoration will bring about and hurry the wedding between God and His people.
Fraternally yours in His Eucharistic Love
Feast Day of Corpus Christi, June 5, 1994