Today is The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion, more commonly known as Corpus Christi (‘The Body of Christ’). It is a special festival at which we celebrate Jesus’ gift of the mass to his followers (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23).
Christians have lots of different ideas about what happens at the mass and celebrate it in lots of different ways; different parts of the church even call it by different names: breaking bread, communion, the eucharist, the liturgy, the Lord’s supper, the sacrament. (I like calling it the mass because that name comes from the final words said by the priest in a Latin version of the service, Ite, missa est, [‘Go, you are dismissed,’] and reminds us that, having celebrated the mass together, we are always then sent out to share the good news of the Jesus whose body and blood we have shared: it is a commissioning service for missionaries at which every participant is being prepared for mission.)
But, whatever different ideas Christians have about the mass and what it means, we celebrate it because Jesus commanded his followers to and they passed that instruction on to us. We celebrate it because fundamentally, as with all his commands, Jesus commanded us to do this for our salvation, that we might become closer to him, get to know him and love him more, by doing it.
Fr Mike Healey (priest-in-charge)