On Corpus Christi

There is even more in the Office today that indicates Corpus Christi should not be transferred to Sunday. Starting with the hymn for Matins, Sacris solemniis iuncta sint gaudia, which includes: "We are commemorating the Last Supper..."

An interesting thing in this hymn is that it teaches us that at the Last Supper they did in fact eat lamb. I have heard before that we know Jesus is the lamb of God because in the NT accounts there is no record that they ate the traditional lamb at this Passover meal. The hymn says, "...when, as we believe, Christ gave to His brethren the lamb and the unleavened bread, according to the law given to their fathers in former times. It is our belief taht after they had eaten the lamb, which was a type, and when the supper was over, the Body of the Lord was given to the disciples by our Lord's hands in such a way that the whole was given to all and the whole given to each." So they ate both the type (the lamb) and the fulfilment (Christ). It may well be that the writers of the NT omitted eating the lamb to make more clear the point of Christ as the lamb of God, but nevertheless they did eat lamb as well.

The responsory at the third lesson of Matins is about Elijah. It draws his story into that of the Eucharist, making connections I wouldn't have made. After reading the responsory I didn't even remember what it was talking about. The responsory is "Elias saw a hearth cake by his head. He arose, and ate and drank; * And, strengthened by that food, he walked as far was the mount of God. / If anyone eat of this bread, he will live forever. And, strengthened by that food, he walked as far as the mount of God. Gloria Patri. And, strengthened by that food, he walked as far as the mount of God." The story is from 1 K 19. After fleeing from Jezebel, Elijah is given a cake and some water, and then walks for 40 days from Judah to Mount Horeb.

Ps 22 (The Lord is my shepherd) is said today at Matins, which draws out the eucharistic imagery in that psalm. This meaning of Ps 22 has largely been lost in the OF of the Hours. In the OF, Ps 22 is said every other Sunday, whereas in the EF it is said at Prime of Thursday. Saying Ps 22 on Thursdays strengthens its eucharistic meaning, while saying it on Sundays obscures this meaning.

Se nascens dedit socium,
Convescens in edulium,
Se moriens in pretium,
Se regnans dat in praemium.

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