Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi—18 June AD 2017
Second Sunday after Pentecost

Ave Maria!


Ordinary of the Mass
English Text
Latin Text

    On the civil calendar, this third Sunday of June is celebrated as Father's Day.  So congratulations to all of you men who are fathers.  Actually, I have to say many of the same things I said on Mother's Day.  Those of you who are to be commended on this day are those who have been loving and responsible fathers.  Men who have not only provided for their families, but who have also guided them in the ways of holiness and civic responsibility, leaving behind them children who will one day grow up to be good and holy husbands and wives.

    The family is the building block of Christian society, so holy and responsible parenthood is a form of religious vocation. While Catholic fathers are not generally called to celibacy, it is clear that our model is best found in Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He was the protector, provider, and teacher of the Son of God.  While a lot is said today about the role of men in general, and particularly in families, you will never go wrong if you put yourself in the place of Joseph, and try to relate to your wife and family as he related to Mary and Jesus.

    As I said on Mother's Day, today we celebrate not only our natural fathers, but all of those who have pitched in when our natural fathers were unwilling or unable to fulfill their proper function.  This includes older brothers, uncles, grandparents, and neighbors, and probably more women than we would like to admit.

    If Dad is still around, be sure to visit or at least call him today. Living or dead, be sure to keep him in your prayers every day.  Those of you with good Latin will notice that the third set of collects in this Mass are prayed for all of our deceased Mothers and Fathers.

    Again, congratulations and happy Father's Day to all who fit my rather broad definition of fatherhood!

    The liturgical calendar has us acknowledging the Fatherhood of God and the great gift that He has bestowed upon His children.  God has given the true Fatherly gift of Himself.  By a special act of Divine Providence, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on human form, taught us the ways of holiness by living a sinless life, and offered Himself in sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of mankind. As if that we not enough, He remains with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  He abides in the Tabernacle where we may visit Him to seek His Fatherly advice.  He comes to dwell, literally, within us in the most intimate manner in Holy Communion.

    On the traditional Catholic calendar this second Sunday after Pentecost is called the Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi.  An Octave, of course is the eight day celebration associated with the greatest feasts. This is a joyful celebration of the greatest gift of God our Father. The collects of the Blessed Sacrament are added to the collects of all the Masses of the Octave, and the Preface is the Preface of the Nativity, which is to say the Preface of the Incarnation.

    The feast of Corpus Christi, celebrated this past Thursday goes back to the thirteenth century and came into existence largely due to the labors of a Norbertine nun known as Juliana de Cornillon, in Belgium. Saint Juliana was especially devoted to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and longed for a feast in Its honor outside of Lent.  While Holy Thursday marks the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, the day is overshadowed by the sadness of Good Friday the following day.  For twenty years Saint Juliana is said to have visions of our Lord with a full moon, representing the Church, but having a dark spot on it to represent the missing feast of the Blessed Sacrament.  Her confessor encouraged her to make the visions known to Robert de Thorete, the bishop of Liège, who ordered the celebration of the feast day in his diocese in 1246.  Jacques Pantaléon, who became Pope Urban IV  in 1264, became attached to the feast when he served as Archdeacon ofLiège.  As Pope he offered the feast for celebration in any diocese that wanted to do so, throughout the Latin rites of the Church.  It is said that Pope Urban was influenced by an Eucharistic miracle that took place in Bolsena, Italy, near Orvieto, where the Pope was staying.

    At about the time Urban IV became Pope, the great Dominican theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas was writing a magnificent collection of hymns about the Blessed Sacrament.  These hymns became the basis for the Mass and Office of Corpus Christi and some were added to the rites of Holy Thursday.  Saint Thomas’ hymns are both musically beautiful and theologically profound—they can be thought of as a sort of musical catechism of the Blessed Sacrament.  Urban IV extended the feast of Corpus Christi to the Universal Church with the bull "Transiturus" (8 September, 1264). 

    So, today is Father’s Day—today we honor the fathers who gave us life—today we honor the Father Who gave us the Bread of Life.  Happy Father’s Day!




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