Precious Blood Readings (Days 11-14)
July 11, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Day 11
A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (1 Corinthians 10:14-22)
From “Can You Drink the Cup?” By Henri Nouwen (+1996)
Many people feel cursed-cursed by God with illnesses, losses, handicaps, and misfortunes. They believe their cup doesn’t carry any blessings. It is the cup of God’s wrath, the cup Jeremiah speaks of when he says: For Yahweh, the God of Israel said this to me, “Take this cup of the wine of wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it; they will drink and reel and lose their wits, because of the sword I am sending among them…. You will say to them, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Drink! Get drunk! Vomit! Fall, never to rise again, before the sword that I am sending among you!’ If they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, you will say to them, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this: You must drink! Look, for a start, I am bringing disaster on the city that bears my name, so are you likely to go unpunished? You certainly will not go unpunished, for next I shall summon a sword against all the inhabitants of the land, Yahweh declares’ “ (Jeremiah 25:15-16, 27-29).
This is not a cup to lift “to life.” It only brings misery. It is not surprising that no one wants to get close to the vengeful god that Jeremiah depicts. No blessing is found there. But when Jesus takes the cup on the evening before his death, it is not the cup of wrath but the cup of blessings. It is the cup of a new and everlasting covenant, the cup that unites us with God and with one another in a community of love. Paul writes to the people of Corinth: “I am talking to you as sensible people; weigh up for yourselves what I have to say. The blessing cup, which we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:15-16).
The immense suffering of humanity can easily be understood as a sign of God’s wrath, as a punishment. It often was understood that way, and it often still is. The Psalmist says: “Yahweh is holding a cup filled with a heady blend of wine; he will pour it, they will drink it to the dregs, all the wicked on earth will drink it” (Psalm 75:8). And we, looking at the horrors that plague our world, are saying, “How can there be a loving God when all this is happening? It must be a cruel, spiteful God who allows human beings to suffer so much!”
Jesus, however, took upon himself all this suffering and lifted it up on the cross, not as a curse but as a blessing. Jesus made the cup of God’s wrath into a cup of blessings. That’s the mystery of the Eucharist. Jesus died for us so that we may live. He poured out his blood for us so that we may find new life. He gave himself away for us, so that we can live in community He became for us food and drink so that we can be fed for everlasting life. That is what Jesus meant when he took the cup and said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you” (Luke 22:20). The Eucharist is that sacred mystery through which what we lived as a curse, we now live as a blessing. Our suffering can no longer be a divine punishment. Jesus transformed it as the way to new life. His blood, and ours too, now can become martyr’s blood – blood that witnesses to a new covenant, a new communion, a new community.
When we lift the cup of our life and share with one another our sufferings and joys in mutual vulnerability, the new covenant can become visible among us. The surprise of it all is that it is often the least among us who reveal to us that our cup is a cup of blessings.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break,  is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because we who are many are one bread and one body
-- for we all partake of the one bread and one cup.  
Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup unworthily, will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord -- for we all partake of the one bread and one cup.
Day 12
A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves. (1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
From the “Commentary on Matthew” by Origen of Alexandria (+253)

The kingdom of God is not the food of those who have become worthy of the celestial bread and of the bread of angels, and of the food of which the Savior says: My food is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may do his work. That we shall eat and drink in the kingdom of God is clear from many Scripture sayings, and from this in particular: Blessed is the one who will eat bread in the kingdom of God. Hence this Pasch will be fulfilled in the kingdom of God, Jesus will eat and drink of it with His disciples. ....Jacob too makes known how God gives bread, when he says: If God shall be with us, and shall give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, of all the things which thou, O Lord wilt give me, I will offer tithes to thee. Similarly we find in the Gospel of St. John Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. Now indeed the Pasch is not fulfilled yet, but it will be when we shall be prepared to receive the full Pasch which He came to fulfill, who came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it; to fulfill it now as in a glass darkly (i.e. obscurely) , but to fulfill it then face to face (i.e. openly and plainly) , when that which is perfect shall have come. If therefore we also desire to receive from Jesus who is wont to give it, the bread of benediction, let us go into the city to the house of a certain man, where Jesus makes the Pasch with His disciples, prepared by those whom He knows, let us ascend to the upper part of the house, large, furnished, and well swept, where taking the chalice from the Father and giving thanks, He gives to those who have gone up with Him, saying: Drink, for this is my blood of the new testament, which is drunk and is poured out, drunk by the disciples, poured out unto the remission of the sins of those for whom it is poured out and by whom it is drunk. Would you know how it is poured out, with these words, compare also those others: The charity of God is poured out in our hearts. Now if the blood of the testament is poured out into our hearts unto the remission of sins, when that Blood which we drink is poured into our hearts, all the sins of which we have heretofore been guilty, are remitted and wiped out. Moreover He who having taken the chalice says: Drink ye all of this, does not abandon us who drink of it, rather HE DRINKS IT WITH US, SINCE HE IS IN EACH ONE OF US; FOR ALONE AND WITHOUT HIM, WE CAN NEITHER EAT OF THAT BREAD NOR DRINK OF THE FRUIT OF THAT TRUE VINE. And wonder not that He is the bread, and that at the same time He eats the bread with us, that He is the drink of the fruit of the vine, and that at the same time He drinks with us. For the word of God is omnipotent, it is known by various names, and is without number according to the multiplicity of His power". 



Know that in this bread is the body of Christ which hung upon the cross, and in this cup, the blood of Christ which flowed from his side. Take, therefore, and eat his body; take and drink his blood, 
– and you will become members of his body. 
Eat this sacred food, so that your bond of unity with Christ may never be broken. Drink this sacred blood, the price he paid for you, so that you may never lose heart because of your sinfulness. 
– and you will become members of his body.
Day 13
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
From “Meditations on the Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ” by John Tauler (+1361)
Stand here as many as love God,  and observe and see all that our Lord has done for our souls. Come here, all  you who have been redeemed by the sin-less blood of the innocent Lamb, Christ Jesus, that you may see and understand all that He has suffered for our iniquities. Behold ! now the Book of Life is opened, 
and its seven seals are broken; the book in which truth shines forth, and all the mysteries of wisdom and knowledge are hidden, which is full of doctrine, and overflows with mysteries. Now is the mirror of all virtues clearly shown to the eyes of all. Now is the old veil rent, and all the wrappings and coverings of figures are 
taken away. Now is the Holy of Holies thrown wide open by Jesus the High Priest; for He has offered His own Blood in sacrifice, and revealed all hidden holiness, and all secret sacraments and mysteries.... This is that High-Priest, Who by  His own Blood hath entered into the Holy of Holies, to offer Himself a peace-offering for the sins of the whole world. This is that guiltless Lamb, Who has washed us in His own precious Blood, Who never knew sin, but Who has taken away all the sins of the world. 
From the treasury, then, of this Passion, I borrow the price of my debt, and all its merits I count out before You in payment of what I owe. For all that He has done, He has done in my nature, and for my sake. 

O gracious Father, if You weigh all my sins on one side of the balance, and place in the other the Passion of Your Son, the latter will outweigh the former. For what sin can be so great that the guiltless Blood of Your Son has not washed away ? What pride, or disobedience, or lust, is so unbridled and lifted up, that such lowliness, obedience and poverty cannot do away with? O, merciful Father, accept the actions of Your beloved Son, and pardon the wanderings of Your wicked servant; for the innocent Blood of our Brother Abel cries to You from the Cross, not for vengeance, but for grace and mercy, saying: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."


God has predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ
-- in whom we have redemption through his blood.  
The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us
-- in whom we have redemption through his blood.
Day 14
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. (Ephesians 2:13-16)
From the “The Herald of Divine Love” of St. Gertrude of Helfta (+1302)
[Gertrude] had received Communion, and while she was recollecting herslf, the Lord showed himself in the form of a pelican, such as it is usually represented, piercing its heart with its beak. Looking at it in wonder, she said, "O my Lord, what are you trying to teach me by this similitude?" The Lord replied, "That you may consider what ineffable ardor of love comples me to offer such a precious gift; and, if it does not sound too paradoxical to say this, that I should prefer that this gift would lead to my death, rather than that I should deprive a loving soul of this gift of myself.   Moreover, you must consider the excellent way in which your soul, in receiving this gift, is invigorated and receives the life which lasts eternally; just as the little pelican  is invigorated with blood from the father's heart. 
One day [Gertrude] was examining her conscience and found there something she would like to have confessed.  As she could not have recourse to a confessor, following her usual custom she took refuge with her only solace, the Lord Jesus Christ, and bewailed her difficulty. To which he responded in these words: "Why are you so troubled, my love? As often as you ask it of me, I who am myself High Priest and true pontiff, I shall be ready to renew in your soul all seven sacraments at once, more effectively than any priest or bishop could do one at a time.  I will baptize you in with my precious blood; I will confirm you in the strength of my victory;  I will espouse you to me in my faithful love; I will consecrate you in the perfection of my most holy life; in my loving mercy I will absolve you from the bonds of every sin; in my overflowing charity, I will feed you with myself , and will myself be refreshed by you. And the sweetness of my spirit will penetrate your whole being with such beneficent unction that through every sense and movement devotion will be, so to speak, distilled, and so, without ceasing, you will be ever more prepared and sanctified for eternal life.
You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 
-- For he is our peace, who has made both one. 
So that he might create in himself one new humanity 
-- For he is our peace, who has made both one.