I Love The Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who Lives Within Me, Now and Forever. Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2006

O’ Most Precious Blood of Jesus!

“The Cup Of Blessing That We Bless, Is It Not A Participation In The Blood Of Christ?”

By: Father Rick (Fr. Richard Beuther: Sts Peter & Paul: Brooklyn)

During the month of July [Now celebrated on June 22, 2003], the Church reflects on the mystery of the Blood of Christ. Therefore, it is fitting that we should prayerfully reflect on the mystery of the Eucharist and in particular, the Blood of Christ shed for our redemption. In this short article, I will develop the concept of blood as understood in both the Old and New Testaments. Finally, I will make an application of the Mystery of the Blood of Christ within our own lives.

Old Testament

When we look at the concept of blood in the Old Testament, we must equate it with life. Blood is essential to the physical life of humans and animals. In its critical role for sustaining life, blood took on special significance for the Israelites both in the popular imagination and the official cult. In Israel, the blood of sacrificial animals had to be regularly poured out at the base of the altar (Lev. 4:7, 18, 25, 30) and thereby be returned to God. The blood was not food for God (psalm 50:13). Rather, the blood, as the bearer of life, was given to God in atonement for the sins of humans. God says, “Since the life of a living body is in its blood, I have made you put it on the altar, so that atonement may thereby be made for your own lives, because it is the blood, as the seat of life, that makes atonement.” (Lev. 17:11) In holocausts and sin offerings, and animals taken into the sacral sphere was either to be totally consumed by fire or to have select parts eaten by priests. The blood was always poured out at the base of the altar. The blood, as the bearer of life of the animal, substituted for the blood of the sinful human. Transgressions against God demanded serious acts of reparation; symbolically, the human sinner – through the animal’s blood – was offering his her own life to God to make amends and to ward off punishment. In conclusion, this concept cannot be overstated: when we speak of blood in the Old Testament, we are equating it with life. They are one and the same words. For this reason, many religions have laws against blood transfusions. They interpret a transfusion as bringing in a “new life” – blood of someone that is not your own.

New Testament

The New Testament word for blood means exactly that and only that. As in our own language, “flesh and blood” means our total being or that of someone close to us. The expression is used in Matthew 16:17; John 1:13; 1 Cor 15-20; Gal 1:16; Heb 2:14. St. Paul was the first to write of the meaning of the death of Jesus. He wrote: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?” Paul insists that we participate in the Blood of Christ; we may need to answer for the Body of the Lord. We are redeemed in the Blood of Christ. His Blood poured out for us is a means of our salvation. What does it mean to be redeemed? We are all familiar with bottles of soda. When we return it to the store, we receive five cents for the redemption. In other words, it is bought back by the store manager. This is the meaning of redemption. In Christ, you and I have been bought back by God! We are redeemed. How? By the Blood of Christ! Jesus pours His Blood in suffering on the Cross to “buy us back” – to bring us home to heaven. Why God the Father would have wanted the bloody death of His only Son, we do not really know. God is free. As St. Paul is well aware in Romans, God does not need our advice or justification. However, for Paul, both the once-for-all-death on the cross and the constantly re-enacted Eucharist must be in the blood. It is easy for Paul, then, to carry this into our own lives and see our carrying of the Cross, even to the shedding of the blood, as a necessary part of our union with the Redeemer.


Devotion to the Blood of Christ had its origins at the very beginning of the Church. Recall, the early martyrs of the Church were shedding their own blood in imitation of the Master himself. When we receive the Eucharist in the sacred host each Sunday, we receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. It is a richer symbol and strongly encouraged that the community received both the sacred host and cup as often as possible. The Sacred Blood of Christ fills our bodies and washes us clean. The Blood of Christ becomes one with our own blood – giving us encouragement and hope in moments of suffering and despair. In our own devotion we can appreciate the Old Testament, which reminds us that this Blood is Life – the Life of Jesus living within us. We can recall the words of St. Paul, who reminds us that this Blood was shed for our Redemption. In our short journey on this earth, as we move Home to the Father – we can pray: O Sacred Blood of Jesus Christ, poured out for my redemption, wash me clean! Amen.


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