JERUSALEM – On Thursday, June 8th, 2023, at the Holy Sepulcher, in front of the the Aedicule, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over the celebrations for the feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Every year, on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church honors Jesus Christ, Really, Truly and Substantially Present in The Most Holy Eucharist. This feast dates back to the 13th century, due to a convergence of two separate events, which includes a Eucharistic miracle that occured due to a German priest doubts of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
The entire office and Mass for this Solemnity has been written by St. Thomas Aquinas at the request of Pope Urban VI, who instituted the feast throughout the Universal Church in 1264.
After reciting the Vespers on Wednesday evening, and the Lauds in the morning of the feast day. Mgr Pizzaballa celebrated the traditional solemnity Mass along with Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar, Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, bishop emeritus, and many other priests and bishops of the diocese, as well as Franciscan priests, and seminarians, in the presence of several religious communities, pilgrims and local faithful.
During the Patriarch’s homily, he reminded the faithful of the true bread, Jesus Christ, who satisfies “the hunger of our hearts for life and happiness,” and gives meaning to “man's living, suffering and dying”, opposite to what the culture, and the values of the world claim to satisfy the desires of the human heart. “For our hearts know that bread is not enough; that filling our stomachs, or our pockets is not enough to appease our hearts…. Because the communion we are in search of needs something else, needs an Other. The human heart wants life, it wants love, it wants real presence, it wants God”.
He also compared the command that God gave to His people after they came out from the wilderness, “Remember!” (Deut 6:2), to the command "Do this in memory of me!" (Lk 22:19) given by Christ to His disciples at the Last Supper, before His resurrection and victory over death. “For only His Love, only His bread, only His Word crossed the desert of the evil of death and did not die,” Mgr Pizzaballa asserted.
After Holy communion, a procession with the Blessed Sacrament took place around the Aedicule. The Blesssed Sacrament was carried by the Patriarch under a canopy, as the faithful carried lit candles, singing Latin hymns, chanting Hallelujah, and praising God for His mercy and grace, which were shown to humankind through His Son Jesus Christ and His true mysterious presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.