Corpus Christi at the Holy Sepulcher: Heavenly Manna for our desert!
JERUSALEM – On Thursday, June 4, 2015, the Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, presided by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal with several priests and Franciscan friars.
At 8.30 a.m. seminarians from Beit Jala came to escort the Patriarch with the Franciscan Friars to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, for the celebration of Corpus Christi.
Every year, on the first Thursday after the Holy Trinity Sunday, the Church celebrates the sacrament which commemorates the Sacrifice by which Jesus Christ, Son of God, redeemed Mankind. The Church celebrates the “New and Eternal Covenant”, sealed by the Blood of Christ, crucified and risen here – Hic – in Jerusalem.
Facing the Holy Tomb, a few steps away from the place where Christ gave himself up in sacrifice to the world on Mount Golgotha, a large number of priests, seminarians, friars, nuns – locals and foreigners – attended High Mass presided over by His Beatitude Patriarch Twal.
In his homily in Italian, Mgr Twal brought back the classical image given by the Scriptures, used by Fathers and Doctors of Church, seeing in the Manna, coming down on the Israelites walking in the desert, a “prefiguration” of the genuine “Heavenly Manna” which consists of the Body of Christ himself. “We too, during this earthly pilgrimage, in Jerusalem and from Jerusalem, we stretch out our hand towards Heavenly Kingdom, and are fed every day by this Heavenly Bread, which is the Holy Communion”, said the Patriarch. “No path is free from traps, hardships and misunderstandings. But whoever keeps faith, fed by this Heavenly Manna (Dt 8,16), will get to the so much desired objective”. He finally reminded the faithful gathered in the church of the Resurrection that: “our way and our mission in the Holy Land, and all over the Middle East, are more than ever before very difficult”.
At the end of the Mass, all were invited to hold a candlestick for the procession around the Aedicule of the Holy Tomb, behind the Patriarch carrying the Most Holy Sacrament with emotion.
Finally all had the opportunity to adore the Most Holy Sacrament and to receive a blessing three times : a first time at the Tomb, a second time at the Altar of the Apparition and a third time in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament.
Celebrating the Corpus Christi at the spot where the Body of Christ was nailed to the Cross, placed in the tomb and risen on the 3rd day, is certainly a grace unique of its kind which only the local inhabitants and pilgrims of the Holy Land can enjoy.