We come together each weekend as people who wish to repay the Lord for his goodness to us in sharing with us his body and blood – a sharing which will purify our inner lives so that we can serve the living God.
In the thirteenth century, when this feast of Corpus Christi, (the Body & Blood of Christ) was instituted, holy days and religious feast days brought a welcome respite from heavy labouring work: it was a time long before unions and the recognition of workers’ rights. Thus, a holy day as Corpus Christi, with attendance at Mass and a procession in the afternoon, alleviated and brightened an otherwise unrelenting round of work. The institution of this feast also extended the Easter season, which was the time, in England, for guilds to perform mystery plays. These dealt in the vernacular, and often in jocular fashion, with biblical stories. There were now 57 days for groups of players going from town to town to showcase their work.
The feast was promulgated, not to facilitate such events, but in response to a growing appreciation of the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist.
Canon Francis Brown