This Sunday’s Readings:
Psalm 116:12–13, 15–16, 17–18 (℟ 13 or Alleluia)
Sequence (opt.): Lauda Sion
Mark 14:12–16, 22–26
WE SPEND A LOT OF TIME EXPLAINING THE EUCHARIST so that those who come to Communionunderstand what they are receiving. Sacramental law requires that one must have “sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity…” (Code of Canon Law 913 Åò3).
Yet I wonder if today’s narrative of the Last Supper from Mark’s Gospel might invite us to refrain from explaining the sacrament so much and instead enter the mystery of salvation into which Christ invites us all to participate. Notice, Mark’s Gospel is slightly different from Matthew’s account of the supper (and in what is implied in Luke’s and Paul’s narratives). In Matthew, Jesus gives the meaning of the cup as the disciples drink from it. But in Mark’s version we hear today, Jesus has the disciples drink first before he explains its meaning.
Does this mean we shouldn’t provide sufficient catechesis on the Eucharist? Of course not. But it does remind us that the Eucharist is not a reward for passing a test. It is first and foremost a relationship with Christ, the meaning of which deepens with every encounter. The bread we break is a participation in that relationship. And the cup we share is how we make a return to the Lord for all the good God has done for us.
O Sacrament Most Holy
G-9699 · SATB, assembly, keyboard, guitar
“O sacrament most holy, O sacrament divine: the fruit of human labor, the gift of field and vine. One blessed break now broken, one holy cup of wine, the presence of our Savior in sacramental sign.”
In his notes for this piece, Michael Joncas discusses how he took the texts from the preparation of the gifts and fraction rite in the Liturgy of Eucharist and combined them with the text “O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!” for this communion procession song. This melding of texts shows us that each of these parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist is connected. Joncas cleverly employs the devotional hymn text “O Sacrament Most Holy” in this piece as a reminder that the devotional life of the Church first flows from the sacramental celebrations. In the preparation of the gifts, we bring forward the bread and wine that are representative of all that we have and all that we offer to God, the fruit of human labor. It is these elements that become the Body and Blood of Christ we receive in communion. As you come forward in the communion procession, remember that the gifts you have brought to the liturgy and to your community have been transformed and given back to you as food for your journey. Truly a sacrament most holy.
– Victoria Zibell
More choral suggestions for The Most Holy Body and Blood Sunday…
Ave Verum Corpus Richard Robert Rossi SATB • G-5718
Ave Verum Gabriel Fauré, ed. Douglas J. Walcazk. 2-Part Choir Equal Voices, Organ • 009600
Do This in Remembrance of Me Larry Visser SATB, Organ • G-8693
El Cáliz Que Bendecimos/Our Blessing Cup: Salmo 116(115) Eleazar Cortés. ¡Aclama, Tierra Entera! / Sing All You Lands! bilingual songbook • 012637
I Am Yours (Consume Me Completely) Trevor Thomson. 2-Part Choir, Cantor, Assembly, Guitar, Keyboard • 008398
I Come with Joy Normand Gouin SATB, Organ • G-9832
I’m Thankful for the Blood Patrick D. Bradley. SATB, Cantor, Assembly, Keyboard • 001281
Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem J. Michael Joncas SATB, Cantors, Assembly, Organ, opt. Brass Quintet and Timpani • G-7140
O Great, Sacred Feast of Life (O Sacrum Convivium) Edward Eicker. SATB, Keyboard • 009437
O Sacrum Convivium Richard Farrant ed./trans. Alan J. Hommerding. SATB a cappella • 009049
Pan del Cielo/Bread of Heaven Eleazar Cortés, arr. J. Honoré & P. Kolar. Two-Part Choir, Cantor, Assembly, opt. Marimba, Guitar, Keyboard • 012643
The Bread of Life Arr. Dorothy Frisch SATB, Piano • G-8395
The Bread of Life Michael Mangan Children’s Choir or Three-Part Choir, Assembly, C Instrument, Guitar, Keyboard • 008883