Body and Blood of Christ (A)
June 11, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 14b–16a

Moses said to the people: “Remember how for forty years now the Lord, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments. He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers, in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord.

 “Do not forget the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery; who guided you through the vast and terrible desert with its saraph serpents and scorpions, its parched and waterless ground; who brought forth water for you from the flinty rock and fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers.”

Responsorial Psalm


R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.

He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:16–17

Brothers and sisters: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

Sequence Lauda, Sion


Laud O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,

Christ, your king and shepherd true:

Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow.
   Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving   
Is the quick’ning and the living
   Bread today before you set:

From his hands of old partaken,    
As we know, by faith unshaken,     
   Where the Twelve at Supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting.
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
    From your heart let praises burst:

For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
   Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law’s new oblation,
By the new king’s revelation,
   Ends the form of ancient rite:

Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
   Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
    His memorial ne’er to cease:

 And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
   Thus our sacrifice of peace.    

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
   To his precious blood the wine:

Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
   Resting on a pow’r divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things to sense forbidden;
   Signs, not things are all we see:

Blood is poured and flesh is broken,
Yet in either wondrous token
   Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes,
Does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
   Christ is whole to all that tastes:

Thousands are, as one, receivers,
One, as thousands of believers,
   Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
   Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
   Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken,
Doubt not, but believe ‘tis spoken,
   That each sever’d outward token
      doth the very whole contain.

Nought the precious gift divides,
Breaking but the sign betides   
   Jesus still the same abides,
      Still unbroken does remain.

Lo! the angel’s food is given
   To the pilgrim who has striven;
See the children’s bread from heaven,
   which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
   Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
   Manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
   You refresh us, you defend us,
   Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
   Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
   Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel John 6:51–58

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Catena Nova

It is the sacrament of yourselves that is placed on the Lord’s altar, and it is the sacrament of yourselves that you receive. You reply ‘Amen’ to what you are, and thereby agree that such you are. You hear the words ‘The body of Christ’ and you reply ‘Amen’. Be, then, a member of Christ’s body, so that your ‘Amen’ may accord with the truth. (St. Augustine of Hippo)
When we speak of the reality of Christ's nature being in us, we would be speaking foolishly and impiously - had we not learned it from Him. For He Himself says: 'My Flesh is truly Food, and My Blood is truly Drink. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will remain in Me and I in him.' As to the reality of His Flesh and Blood, there is no room left for doubt, because now, both by the declaration of the Lord Himself and by our own faith, it is truly the Flesh and it is truly Blood. And These Elements bring it about, when taken and consumed, that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Is this not true? Let those who deny that Jesus Christ is true God be free to find these things untrue. But He Himself is in us through the flesh and we are in Him, while that which we are with Him is in God.  (St. Hilary of Poitiers)
In this Sacrament, O Christ, I find both Your humanity and Your divinity; from Your humanity I rise to Your divinity, and from it I go back to Your humanity. I see Your ineffable divinity which contains all the treasures of wisdom, of knowledge, of incorruptible riches. See the inexhaustible fountain of delights which alone can satisfy our intelligence. I see Your most precious soul, O Jesus, with all the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, a holy and unspotted oblation; I see Your sacred Body, the price of our redemption; I see Your Blood, which purifies and vivifies us; in brief, I find treasures which are so precious and so great that I cannot comprehend them. (St. Angela of Foligno)
In the Blessed Sacrament
God loves us so tenderly,
He empties Himself completely.
O, who could believe it?
Withholding nothing, He gives his all.
He gives his flesh for us to eat
He gives his blood for us to drink.
He gives his soul, his infinite being
To transform us into Himself.
Praised be the Blessed Sacrament!”  (St. Louis de Montfort)

If you and I love our faulty fellow-human beings, how much more must God love us all? If we as human parents, can forgive our children any neglect, any crime, and work and pray patiently to make them better, how much more does God love us?  You may say perhaps: "How do we know He does, if there is a He!" And I can only answer that we know it because He is here present with us today in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar, that He never has left us, and that by daily going to Him for the gift of Himself as daily bread, I am convinced of that love. I have the Faith that feeding at that table has nourished my soul so that there is life in it, and a lively realization that there is such a thing as the love of Christ for us. It took me a long time as a convert to realize the presence of Christ as Man in the Sacrament. He is the same Jesus Who walked on earth, Who slept in the boat as the tempest arose, Who hungered in the desert, Who prayed in the garden, Who conversed with the woman by the well, Who rested at the house of Martha and Mary, Who wandered through the cornfields, picking the ears of corn to eat.  Jesus is there as Man. He is there, Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity. He is our leader Who is always with us. Do you wonder that Catholics are exultant in this knowledge, that their Leader is with them? "I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Dorothy Day). 

O God, over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day, I say again the words: “This is my body.” And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, I speak again your words which express the supreme mystery of faith: “This is my blood.” On my paten, I hold all who will live this day in vitality, the young, the strong, the healthy, the joy-filled; and in my chalice, I hold all that will be crushed and broken today as that vitality draws its life. I offer you on this all-embracing altar everything that is in our world, everything that is rising and everything that is dying, and ask you to bless it.  (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
If we find it difficult to find the right approach to the inner understanding of this sacrament, we have to search our own souls.  Let us pose to ourselves the mystery of our own life from which we flee in the hustle and bustle of our everyday life and through the narcotics of our pleasures!  Let the infinite longing take power in us!  Hearken to the indwelling death in us!  Let us be horrified over the cruel loneliness of the human being locked up in us!  Let us seriously ask if the insensibility to God which we have tried to assess as an accusation against him, or as half-admitted proof against his existence, is not really that with which we have allied ourselves deep down in our hearts, so that we do not have to become men of infinite love, men of eternity who blissfully let God make exorbitant demands on them.  If in this or similar ways (there are innumerable more) we undeviatingly resist our own true selves, we will suddenly receive an understanding of this sacrament.  For what we hear from him in faith will suddenly sound as the answer to the question which came up in us, which is our selves.  Do we suffer from the distance from God?  Here is the voice of him who spoke in the utter darkness of death: Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.  Here he is with his death!  Do we suffer from the pain of being unable to love?  Here is the one who in the night when he was betrayed (he was betrayed by us all) loved his disciples up to the end.  Would we like to be loyal to the Earth and no longer see the works of this Earth perish?  Here is the transfigured world in the transfigured flesh of the resurrected, here is the beginning of the glorious validity of this Earth!  Take and eat the pledge of the salvation and glorification of all flesh!  Are we tormented by the ambiguity, the fragility and hollowness of our own being, its guilt, its failure, its horrendous wretchedness?  Here is the one who has suffered for us, as he was without guilt, through all the abysses of our guilt, since he became a curse for us, who, knowing us to our abysses, accepted us, loved us, healed us!  Are we tormented by the fear of meaningless decay and destruction?  Here is the one who has anticipated all meaningless decay and destruction, who has redeemed them and who gives us power in pure powerlessness to accept them.  Here is everything: the meaning, the pain, and the bliss of our existence.  Hidden, however, and open only to faith.  But truly and really.  O holy banquet, thus will we pray with the church, in which Christ is received, in which his suffering in commemorating celebration is made present, and in which is give the pledge of our approaching glory. (Karl Rahner)


(The following homily appears in the current issue of The Precious Blood Family published three times a year by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Atlantice Province.  If you would like to receive the magazine, please forward your name and address to


Contemplating the Eucharistic Form of Christ
     What exactly do the bishops of the United States hope for in their "Eucharistic revival" initiative?  That might at first seem obvious.  But is it?   From some time now, I have been concerned about a seeming imbalance in approaches to the Eucharist I have seen in various venues.  It began years ago when I happened to catch the end of a Mass on EWTN.  As is their custom, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament took place immediately following the liturgy.  At that time the Sacrament was exposed by an automatic curtain which rose to reveal a monstrance — contrary to any liturgical directive I am aware that requires an actual minister to perform this action. This was accompanied by a commentator who said the following in so many words: "The purpose of the Mass is to reserve and adore the Blessed Sacrament."  I was astounded that a media outlet that prides itself on its orthodoxy could have someone in its employ make such an uninformed statement.  
     Another sign of imbalance I have noted with some dismay is the tendency in Catholic publications to picture the consecrated Host in a monstrance in articles about the Eucharist -- as if the first reference to the Sacrament in the minds of people ought to be Eucharistic devotion outside of Mass rather than its actual liturgical celebration.  This invariably reinforces the error made by the EWTN commentator.
     These tendencies have been well-described by Fr. Louis Cameli of the Archdiocese of Chicago:
The heavy emphasis that [the National Eucharistic Revival] places on eucharistic devotions, such as processions, adoration, Forty Hours and eucharistic miracles—as praiseworthy as these might be in themselves—does not capture the heart of the matter. The real challenge is not to understand, appreciate and reverence the Eucharist as a sacramental object, which can be a real tendency of eucharistic devotions. No, the real challenge is to enter together the mystery of the Lord’s self-sacrificing love made present and communicated in the eucharistic action—take, eat, drink, do, remember. To enter that mystery is to find ourselves individually and collectively transformed into the very one we celebrate, Jesus who is present among us as our hope of glory….[Devotions] can lead us to the eucharistic action, and they can lead from it and, in a certain sense, prolong it. In neither case, however, can they substitute for the eucharistic action itself or claim an absolute value in Christian life (America; March 21, 2023).
     Now lest anyone think at this point that I hold anything less than the full Catholic faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist — his humanity and divinity "really, truly and substantially" present as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it — rest assured that I do.  Nor am I in any way opposed to Eucharistic adoration and devotion.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have promoted this throughout my priesthood, most notably at the Chapel of St. Gaspar in Toronto.  I have, moreover, for many decades been in the habit of making a daily Eucharistic Holy Hour.  In doing so, however, I am aware of the liturgical directives governing the practice:
Exposition of the holy eucharist, either in the ciborium or in the monstrance, is intended to acknowledge Christ’s marvellous presence in the sacrament. Exposition invites us to the spiritual union with him that culminates in sacramental communion. Thus it fosters very well the worship which is due to Christ in spirit and in truth. This kind of exposition must clearly express the cult [viz. worship] of the blessed sacrament in its relationship to the Mass. The plan of the exposition should carefully avoid anything which might somehow obscure the principal desire of Christ in instituting the eucharist, namely, to be with us as food, medicine, and comfort. (Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass; 1973, no. 51).
     Which brings me back to the theological and doctrinal imbalance I mentioned earlier.  The tradition of the Church is virtually unanimous that what is signified and effected by the celebration of the Eucharist is the unity of the Church For example, St. Thomas Aquinas, following the patristic tradition he inherited, taught that the true Body and Blood of Christ sacramentally present brings about the mystical, or ecclesial, Body of Christ. The conversion of the elements of bread and wine achieve their purpose, so to speak, when those gathered are themselves converted into the Body of Christ —the Church — newly united to their Head and to one another by their eating and drinking the one Bread and one Cup. In Thomas' words, “We enter into communion with Christ through the Eucharist; we share in his Flesh and in his Godhead; we enter into communion and are mutually united by it ” (ST, III q. 79, a. 1).
     Of course, in order for this to have an impact on those present for a given celebration of the Eucharist, the sacred liturgy needs to be of a commensurate quality.  All of the elements which comprise the liturgical action must speak to this Mystery of the whole Christ, Head and members.  This includes the beauty of the surroundings, the excellence of the music and preaching, the skill of the liturgical ministers who preside, proclaim and serve the gathered assembly so that all might truly engage in that participation called for by the Second Vatican Council.  I have often thought how all such persons should be required on an annual basis — perhaps prior to the First Sunday of Advent and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ —  to review together some portion of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal as well as the Introduction to the Lectionary to see where their celebrations are or are not in accord with the mind and directives of the Church.  I fear too many accommodations are made under the guise of "pastoral" needs which only serve to obscure and diminish the sacred mysteries.  It seems to me an authentic Eucharistic revival has to begin and end with a thoroughgoing liturgical revival or else I fear the bishops' initiative will be for naught.
     As for the appropriate and sound practice of Eucharistic adoration, may I suggest supplementing our language with another phrase which I am borrowing from a fellow Missionary of the Precious Blood, the late Fr. Ernest Rally, who published a series of reflections for use in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament entitled Eucharistic Contemplation (Liturgical Press, 2003).  To "contemplate the Eucharistic form of Christ" is to encounter in silence and awe the Body broken and the Blood outpoured given for us in the Paschal Mystery and sacramentally present under the Species of bread and wine.  With a minimum of words and in the silence the Real Presence evokes, we behold in a contemplative gaze what during the liturgy is shown to us "in motion," namely, the consecration, the elevation and the invitation to Communion.  Those moments in the liturgical action are "freeze-framed" so to speak so we can reflect at length on the words, "This is my Body, this is my Blood"…. "Through him, with him and in him," and "Behold the Lamb of God."  But this is no idle contemplation; the Eucharistic Form of Christ makes corresponding demands on us.  We are challenged to go forth from a time of adoring contemplation to engage in various forms of Eucharistic action wherein our own bodies become food for others, broken if necessary, and our own blood given for the life of the world, poured out if need be. Or as St. Augustine taught, "This is the sacrifice of Christians: we, being many, are one body in Christ. And this also is the sacrifice which the Church continually celebrates in the sacrament of the altar, known to the faithful, in which she teaches that she herself is offered in the offering she makes to God" (City of God X,6).


Intercessions (Joe Milner;  The Sunday Website)

For Christian unity: that Christ’s Body and Blood given for us may heal all the divisions within the Christian community and bind us together into one body in love and service.

For all who cannot receive the Eucharist, particularly those in isolation, in refugee centers, or imprisoned for their faith: that God will strengthen them and make God’s presence known to them through others.

For all who are suffering from famine or drought: that God will nurture them, sustain them on their journey, and supply the assistance they need.

For all who have experienced violence: that God will protect them from further harm, right the injustices that have occurred, and give them hope.

For governmental and civic leaders: that God will give them wisdom to address the unrest, insight into righting the injustices, and words that will unite society.

For all who are ill and those care for them: that God will send healing to the sick, strength and wisdom to those who care for them and inspiration to those researching treatments.

The bread you give, O God,
is Christ’s flesh for the life of the world;
the cup of his blood
is your covenant for our salvation.
Grant that we who worship Christ in this holy mystery
may reverence him in the needy of this world
by lives poured out for the sake of that kingdom
where he lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Chant

Offertory Motet (Jean Berger)


The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of ev’ry living thing, of ev’ry living thing.

Communion Antiphon

Concluding Hymn

I received the living God,
and my heart is full of joy.
I received the living God,
and my heart is full of joy.

Jesus said: "I am the Bread
Kneaded long to give you life;
You who will partake of me
Need not ever fear to die." [Refrain]

Jesus said: "I am the Way,
And my Father longs for you;
So I come to bring you home
To be one with him anew." [Refrain]

Jesus said: "I am the Truth;
If you follow close to me,
You will know me in your heart,
And my word shall make you free." [Refrain]