Brothers and sisters: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (1 Cor 10:16-17)
The question I always ask about this feast is why? The answer of course perhaps had to do with the state of Holy Week before the reforms of Pope Pius XII in the 1950’s. But the fact was that Holy Thursday and Good Friday were poorly attended by the faithful, if at all. These celebrations took place in the morning when most folks were working. As a consequence, Passion Sunday was invented with the reading of the Passion Narrative so that the faithful would hear the Passion of the Lord at least once during the year and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ was added so that Holy Thursday and the institution of the Eucharist would at least be acknowledged. And of course, as the Second Vatican Council decreed, the restoration and promotion of the liturgy should lead to the “fully conscious, and active participation” of the faithful in liturgical celebrations. During our first year in seminary, I remember one of my classmates who called to me one day after a liturgy class on the Paschal Triduum to ask what in the world the professor had been talking about. He and his family attended Mass faithfully every Sunday, but he had never heard of the Paschal Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil. It was news to him. Perhaps that’s why we have Corpus Christi Sunday.