Readings on the Precious Blood (Days 1-10)
July 02, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 1

A reading from the Book of Leviticus (17:10-14)

If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel: No person among you shall eat blood, nor shall any alien who resides among you eat blood. And anyone of the people of Israel, or of the aliens who reside among them, who hunts down an animal or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.

From “The Liturgical Year” by Dom Prosper Louis Paschal Guéranger (+1875)

The Church, it is true, has already made known to the children of the New Covenant, and in a much more solemn manner, the price of the Blood that redeemed them, its nutritive strength, and the adoring homage which is its due. Yes, on Good Friday, earth and heaven beheld all sin drowned in the saving stream, whose eternal flood-gates at last gave way, beneath the combined effort of human violence and of the love of the divine Heart. The festival of Corpus Christi witnessed our prostrate worship before the altars whereon is perpetuated the Sacrifice of Calvary, and where the outpouring of the Precious Blood affords drink to the humblest little ones, as well as to the mightiest potentates of earth, lowly bowed in adoration before it. How is it, then, that Holy Church is now inviting all Christians to hail, in a particular manner, the stream of life ever gushing from the sacred fount? What else can this mean, but that the preceding solemnities have by no means exhausted the mystery? The peace which the Blood has made to reign in the high places as well as in the low; the impetus of its wave bearing back the children of Adam from the yawning gulf, purified, renewed, and dazzling white in the radiance of their heavenly apparel; the Sacred Table outspread before them, on the waters’ brink, and the Chalice brimful of inebriation; all this preparation and display would be objectless, if the human race were not brought to see therein the wooings of a Love that could never endure its advances to be outdone by the pretensions of any other. Therefore, the Blood of Jesus is set before our eyes, at this moment, as the Blood of the Testament; the pledge of the alliance proposed to us by God; the dower stipulated upon by Eternal Wisdom for this divine union to which he is inviting all people, and whereof the consummation in our soul is being urged forward with such vehemence by the Holy Spirit.

The Blood of the Man-God being the pledge of peace between heaven and earth, the object of profoundest worship, yea, itself the very center of the whole Liturgy, and our assured protection against all the evils of this present life, deposits, even now, in the souls and bodies of those whom it has ransomed, the germ of eternal happiness.  It was by His own Blood that the Son of God entered into heaven; this divine Blood continues to be the means whereby we also may be introduced into the eternal alliance.

The Blood Divine has rendered us participators of Christ: it is our part not to squander, as though it were worthless, this immense treasure, this initial incorporation which unites us to Christ, the divine Head; but let us abandon ourselves, without fear and without reserve, to the energy of this precious leaven whose property it is to transform our whole being into Him.

And you, O soul, long rebellious to the secret touches of choicest graces, be not disconsolate; say not: “Love is no more for me!” However far away the old enemy may, by wretched wiles, have dragged you, is it not still true that to ever winding way, yea, alas! perhaps even to every pitfall, the streamlets of this Sacred Fount have followed you? Do you think, perhaps, that your long and tortuous wanderings from the merciful course of these ever pursuant waters may have weakened their power? Do but try: do but, first of all, bathe in their cleansing wave; do but quaff long draughts from this stream of life; then, O weary soul, arming you with faith, be strong, and mount once more the course of the divine torrent. For, as in order to reach you, it never once was separated from its fountain head, so likewise be certain that by so doing, you must reach the very Source Itself. Believe me, this is the whole secret of the Bride, namely, that from wherever she may come, she has no other course to pursue than this, if she would fain hear the answer to that yearning request expressed in the Sacred Canticle: Show me, O you whom my soul loves, where you rest in the midday! So much so indeed, that by reascending the sacred Stream, not only is she sure of reaching the Divine Heart, but moreover she is ceaselessly renewing, in its waters, that pure beauty which makes her become, in the eyes of the Spouse, an object of delight and of glory to Him. For your part, carefully gather up today the testimony of the Disciple of love; and congratulating Jesus, with the Church, his Bride and your Mother, on the brilliancy of her empurpled robe, take good heed likewise to conclude with St. John: Let us then love God, since He hath first loved us.


Of old it was decreed by the Lord: Make sure that you do not partake of the blood -- for blood is life

Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed -- for blood is life.

Day 2

A reading from the Book of Exodus (12:1-13)

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

From the “Dialogue with Trypho” by St. Justin Martyr (+165)

The blood of the passover, sprinkled on each one's door-posts and lintel, delivered those who were saved in Egypt, when the first-born of the Egyptians were destroyed. For the passover was Christ, who was afterwards sacrificed, as also Isaiah said, 'He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.' And it is written, that on the day of the passover you seized Him, and that also during the passover you crucified Him. And as the blood of the passover saved those who were in Egypt, so also the blood of Christ will deliver from death those who have believed. Would God, then, have been deceived if this sign had not been above the doors? I do not say that; but I affirm that He announced beforehand the future salvation for the human race through the blood of Christ. For the sign of the scarlet thread, which the spies, sent to Jericho by Joshua, son of Nave (Nun), gave to Rahab the harlot, telling her to bind it to the window through which she let them down to escape from their enemies, also manifested the symbol of the blood of Christ, by which those who were at one time harlots and unrighteous persons out of all nations are saved, receiving remission of sins, and continuing no longer in sin.


By faith Moses celebrated the Passover and the sprink­ling of blood. -- God had something better in view for us. 

You know that you were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as a Lamb without blemish and without spot. -- God had something better in view for us.

Day 3

 A reading from the Book of Exodus (24:3-8)

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, ‘All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’ Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, ‘See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’

From a homily “On the Holy Resurrection of Christ” by St. Epiphanius of Salamis (+403)

Of old, Moses, the lawgiver, was sent by God from a high mountain to save his people and to symbolize the Law. The Lord, the Lawgiver, was also sent, God by God, mountain from the highest mountain of heaven, to save our people and to be the Law. Moses delivered his people from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, but Christ has made peace between his two peoples and united heaven and earth.

Israel kept the symbolic Passover by night: we celebrate the true Passover by the light of day. They kept it in the evening of the day: we keep it in the evening of the world. Then the doorposts and lintels were sprinkled with blood: now it is the hearts of the faithful that are sealed with the blood of Christ. Then the sacrifice was offered by night and the crossing of the Red Sea took place at night, but now we are saved by the Red Sea of Baptism that glows with the fire of the Spirit. In Baptism the Spirit of God truly descends and appears in the waters in which the head of the serpent, the prince of serpents and demons, is crushed. Moses gave Israel its baptism by night and a cloud overshadowed the people, but it is the power of the Most High that overshadows the people of Christ.

Moses had recourse to a rock of this creation, but we turn to the rock of faith. Then, the tablets of the Law were broken in pieces as a sign that the Law would be abrogated: now, the Laws of God stand forever. Then, the making of a molten calf brought retribution on the people: now, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is the salvation of the people. Then, water poured from the rock when it was struck by a rod: now, from the pierced and life-giving side of the rock which is Christ, both blood and water flow. The Jews of old were given quails from heaven: our gift from on high is the Dove, the Holy Spirit. They fed on perishable manna and died: the bread that we eat brings us everlasting life.


Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, -- “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

We have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. -- “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

Day 4

A reading from the Book of Leviticus (16:11-19)

Aaron shall present the bull as a sin-offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall slaughter the bull as a sin-offering for himself. He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of crushed sweet incense, and he shall bring it inside the curtain and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, so that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the covenant, or he will die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times.

 He shall slaughter the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the curtain, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which remains with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. No one shall be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement on its behalf, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

From the article “An Atonement Update” by James Alison

The purpose of [the atonement rites] was to remove all the impurities that had accrued in what was meant to be a microcosm of creation, because the Holy of Holies, in the understanding of the Temple, was the place where the Creator dwelt, beyond and outside Creation. The idea was that Creation started from the Temple Veil outwards, while the Holy Place was beyond time, matter, and space. The rite of atonement was about the Lord himself, the Creator, emerging from the Holy of Holies so as to set the people free from their impurities and sins and transgression. In other words, the whole rite was exactly the reverse of what we typically imagine a priestly rite to be about. We tend to have an “Aztec imagination” as regarding the sacrificial system. The hallmark of the sacrificial system is that its priest sacrifices something so as to placate some deity. The Jewish priestly rite was already an enormous advance beyond that world. They understood perfectly well that it was pagan rites that sacrificed victims in order to keep creation going. And one of the ways in which they had advanced beyond that, even before the fall of the Temple and the Exile to Babylon, was the understanding that it was actually God who was doing the work, it was  God who was coming out wanting to restore creation, out of his love for his people. And so it is YHWH who emerges from the Holy of Holies dressed in white in order to forgive the people their sins and, more importantly, in order to  allow creation to flow. The notion is that humans are inclined to muck up creation; and it is God emerging from the place that symbolises that which is before creation began, “the place of the Creator”. The Holy of Holies was the place that symbolised “before the first day” –which, of course, meant before time, before creation was brought into being. The priest emerged from that and came through the Temple Veil. This was made of very rich material, representing the material world, that which was created. At this point the high priest would don a robe made of the same material as the Veil, to demonstrate that what he was acting out was God coming forth and entering into the world of creation so as to make atonement, to undo the way humans had snarled up that creation. And at that point, having emerged, he would then sprinkle the rest of the temple with the blood that was the Lord’s blood. Now, here’s the interesting point: for the Temple understanding the high priest at this stage was acting “in the person of Yahweh”, and it was the Lord’s blood that was being sprinkled. This was a divine movement to set people free. It was not –as we so often imagine –a priest satisfying a divinity. The reason why the priest had to engage in a prior expiation was because he was about to become a sign of something quite else: acting outwards. The movement is not inwards towards the Holy of Holies; the movement is outwards from the Holy of Holies.  So the priest would then come through the Veil –meaning the Lord entering into the world, the created world –and sprinkle all the rest of the Temple, hence setting it free. After which, as the person who was bearing the sins that had been accumulated, he places them on the head of what we call “the scapegoat,” Azazel, which would then be driven outside the town, to the edge of a cliff and cast down, where it would be killed, so that the people’s sins would be taken away.

The early Christians who wrote the New Testament understood very clearly that Jesus was the authentic high priest, who was restoring the eternal covenant that had been established long before; who was coming out from the Holy Place so as to offer himself as an expiation for us, as a concrete living out and demonstration of God’s love for us; and that Jesus was acting this out quite deliberately. In the Second Temple there was no longer a mercy seat. There was no longer anything inside the Holy of Holies. The priestly mysteries had been lost. And this was one of the reasons that there was excitement that here was a priest who was going to fulfil the promises and restore the priestly mysteries. This is a liturgy rather than a theory, the way we live this out as Christians is to remember that the one true sacrifice –that is to say, the place where God gave himself for us in our midst as our victim –has been done. It’s over! The whole of the sacrificial system has been brought to an end. The Holy of Holies has been opened for good.

[In the Eucharist] we find ourselves transported into participating in the “heavenly banquet,” the place where the Lamb is standing as one slaughtered, as in the vision described by the Book of Revelation. This is a Holy of Holies vision; this is a vision of the Holy of Holies now open and flowing everywhere. It is the one true sacrifice that has been done. That does not mean to say “over and done with”. It means that the victorious Lamb is there; his blood is flowing out; the victim, the forgiving victim, is present. And we have access to participate in that atonement, which has been achieved through it being made available to us in our Eucharist. What the Eucharist is for us is the high priest emerging out of the Holy of Holies, giving us his body and blood, as our way into being a living priesthood and a living temple in the world. Now, if that picture is true, then it seems that what our Eucharistic life is supposed to be about is that we are a people who are being turned into the new temple by receiving the body and blood of the self-giving victim, who is already victorious. We are being turned into the new temple that is able to participate in the life of God who is coming out to us here and now. That is what the doctrine of transubstantiation is about. It means: this is not merely our memorial supper; this is, in fact, the heavenly banquet where someone else is the protagonist and we are called out of ourselves into it. We are being called “through the Veil”, into the participation. We are given the signs; which is why the body and blood are not something that hide the divinity but make it manifest. They are signs reaching out to us of what God is actually doing for us.


Today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you, and provided you keep all his commandments. Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying  -- “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you.

In like manner Jesus took also the cup after the supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you.”  -- “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you.

Day 5

 A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (22:14-20)

When the hour came, [Jesus] took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

From the “Mystagogical Catecheses” of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386)

On the night he was betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ took bread and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said: ‘Take, eat: this is my body.’ He took the cup, gave thanks and said: ‘Take, drink: this is my blood.’ Since Christ himself has declared the bread to be his body, who can have any further doubt? Since he himself has said quite categorically, This is my blood, who would dare to question it and say that it is not his blood?

Therefore, it is with complete assurance that we receive the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ. His body is given to us under the symbol of bread, and his blood is given to us under the symbol of wine, in order to make us by receiving them one body and one blood with him. Having his body and blood in our members, we become bearers of Christ and sharers, as Saint Peter says, in the divine nature.

Once when speaking to the Jews Christ said: Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall have no life in you. This so horrified them that they left him. Not understanding his words in a spiritual way, they thought the Saviour wished them to practise cannibalism.

Under the old covenant there was showbread, but it came an end with the old dispensation to which it belonged. Under the new covenant there is bread from heaven and the cup of salvation. These sanctify both soul and body, the bread being adapted to the sanctification of the body, the Word to the sanctification of the soul.

Do not, then, regard the Eucharistic elements as ordinary bread and wine: they are in fact the body and blood of the Lord, as he himself has declared. Whatever your senses may tell you, be strong in faith.

You have been taught and you are firmly convinced that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is not bread and wine but the body and the blood of Christ. You know also how David referred to this long ago when he sang: Bread strengthens the heart and makes the face glow with the oil of gladness. Strengthen your heart, then, by receiving this bread as spiritual bread, and bring joy to the face of your soul.

May purity of conscience remove the veil from the face of your soul so that by contemplating the glory of the Lord, as in a mirror, you may be transformed from glory to glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


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 6

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (6:53-58)

[Jesus said,] ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’

From the treatise “Against the Heresies” by St. Irenaeus of Lyons (+202)

If our flesh is not saved, then the Lord has not redeemed us with his blood, the Eucharistic chalice does not make us sharers in his blood, and the bread we break does not make us sharers in his body. There can be no blood without veins, flesh, and the rest of the human substance, and this the Word of God actually became: it was with his own blood that he redeemed us. As the Apostle says: In him, through his blood, we have been redeemed, our sins have been forgiven.

We are his members and we are nourished by creation, which is his gift to us, for it is he who causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall. He declared that the chalice which comes from his creation was his blood and he makes it the nourishment of our blood. He affirmed that the bread which comes from his creation was his body and he makes it the nourishment of our body. When the chalice we mix and the bread we bake receive the word of God, the Eucharistic elements become the body and blood of Christ, by which our bodies live and grow. How then can it be said that flesh belonging to the Lord’s own body and nourished by his body and blood is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life? Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Ephesians that we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. He is not speaking of some spiritual and incorporeal kind of person, for spirits do not have flesh and bones. He is speaking of a real human body composed of flesh, sinews, and bones, nourished by the chalice of Christ’s blood and receiving growth from the bread which is his body.

The slip of a vine planted in the ground bears fruit at the proper time. The grain of wheat falls into the ground and decays only to be raised up again and multiplied by the Spirit of God who sustains all things. The Wisdom of God places these things at our service and when they receive God’s word they become the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ. In the same way our bodies which have been nourished by the Eucharist will be buried in the earth and will decay, but they will rise again at the appointed time, for the Word of God will raise them up to the glory of God the Father. Then the Father will clothe our mortal nature in immortality and freely endow our corruptible nature with incorruptibility, for God’s power is shown most perfectly in weakness.


And while they were at supper, Jesus, taking a cup, gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, “All of you drink of this.”  -- “For this is my blood of the new covenant.”

Which is being shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. -– “For this is my blood of the new covenant.”

Day 7

 A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (19:31-37)

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’

From the “Catecheses” by Saint John Chrysostom (+407)

If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

There flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.


When the soldiers came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers opened his side with a lance, -- and immediately there came out blood and water.

For these things came to pass that the Scripture mightbe fulfilled: “Not a bone of him shall you break.” -- and immediately there came out blood and water.

Day 8

 A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

[Paul said,] ‘And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. (Acts 20:25-28)

From the apostolic letter “Inde a primis” (On promoting devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ) of Pope St. John XXIII (+1963)

The Apostle’s wholesome advice comes to mind: “Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God’s Church, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops; you are to be the shepherds of that flock which he won for himself at the price of his own blood.” Now among the cares of our pastoral office, venerable brethren, we are convinced that, second only to vigilance over sound doctrine, preference belongs to the proper surveillance and development of piety, in both its liturgical and private expressions. With that in mind, we judge it most timely to call our beloved children’s attention to the unbreakable bond which must exist between the devotions to the Most Holy Name and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus — already so widespread among Christians — and devotion to the incarnate Word’s Most Precious Blood, “shed for many, to the remission of sins.”

As we now approach the feast and month devoted to honouring Christ’s Blood —- the price of our redemption, the pledge of salvation and life eternal — may Christians meditate on it more fervently, may they savour its fruits more frequently in sacramental communion. Let their meditations on the boundless power of the Blood be bathed in the light of sound biblical teaching and the doctrine of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. How truly precious is this Blood is voiced in the song which the Church sings with the Angelic Doctor (sentiments wisely seconded by our predecessor Clement VI) :

            Blood that but one drop of has the world to win

            All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man’s Blood — just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church’s sacraments. Such sur passing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.

The Blood of the new and eternal covenant especially deserves this worship of latria when it is elevated during the sacrifice of the Mass. But such worship achieves its normal fulfilment in sacramental communion with the same Blood, indissolubly united with Christ’s eucharistic Body. In intimate association with the celebrant the faithful can then truly make his sentiments at communion their own: “I will take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. . . The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul for everlasting life. Amen.” Thus as often as they come worthily to this holy table they will receive more abundant fruits of the redemption and resurrection and eternal life won for all men by the Blood Christ shed “through the Holy Spirit.” Nourished by his Body and Blood, sharing the divine strength that has sustained countless martyrs, they will stand up to the slings and arrows of each day’s fortunes — even if need be to martyrdom itself for the sake of Christian virtue and the kingdom of God. Theirs will be the experience of that burning love which made St. John Chrysostom cry out:

Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us. . . This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church… This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works.

You know well enough that your ransom was not paid in earthly currency, silver or gold; it was paid in the precious blood of Christ; no lamb was ever so pure, so spotless a victim.” If only they would lend a more eager ear to the apostle of the Gentiles: “A great price was paid to ransom you; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence.” Their upright lives would then be the shining ex ample they ought to be; Christ’s Church would far more effectively fulfill its mission to men. God wants all men to be saved, for he has willed that they should all be ransomed by the Blood of his only-begotten Son; he calls them all to be members of the one Mystical Body whose head is Christ. If only men would be more responsive to these promptings of his grace, how much the bonds of brotherly love among individuals and peoples and nations would be strengthened. Life in society would be so much more peaceable, so much worthier of God and the human nature created in his image and likeness.


Do you not know that your body is a templeof the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? -- You were bought with a great price. 

Therefore glorify God in your body. -- You were bought with a great price. 

Day 9

 A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans.

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;  they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

From a “Commentary on the Letter to the Romans” by Origen (+253)

Let us examine each of the names which Scripture gives to the Saviour, and study carefully the meaning expressed in them. We shall find that because it was God’s will and pleasure to embody the fullness of divinity in him, Christ in his own person was at one and the same time the throne of mercy, the High Priest, and the victim offered for the people.

David in the psalms and the Apostle writing to the Hebrews both clearly describe Christ as High Priest. That he is also a sacrificial victim is declared in the words of John the Baptist: This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. As victim, by the shedding of his own blood he becomes the atoning sacrifice which procures forgiveness of past offences. Nevertheless, this atonement comes to each individual believer through faith, for unless it brought him forgiveness of his past offences, it would remain ineffective for him. Since his sins have been forgiven, it is absolutely certain that atonement for them has been accomplished by the shedding of blood in sacrifice. As the Apostle says: Without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins.

Saint Paul is not alone in representing Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our past sins; Saint John shares the same understanding, as you can judge from the following passage: I write these things to you, my children, to keep you from sin. But if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just One. He is the expiation for our sins, and not our sins only but those of all the world. It is through the atoning sacrifice of Christ’s blood that we receive forgiveness of our past offences in the merciful forbearance of God; so is his justice made manifest.

When God refrains from punishing sinners at once, he exhibits that divine patience which Saint Paul says is meant to lead us to repentance, and, as the Apostle rightly adds, this is how God demonstrates his justice at the present time. As long as this world endures, God’s justice is at work in his forbearance, but in the world to come it will be manifested in the payment to each of us of our just deserts.


Once you were estranged from God, at enmity with him in heart and mind, and your deeds were evil. But now, by Christ’s death in his mortal body, – God has reconciled you to himself.

God made Christ’s sacrificial death the means of expiating the sins of all believers. – God has reconciled you to himself.

Day 10

 A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

From a letter of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153)

Why should not righteousness come to me from another when guilt came upon me from another? One made me a sinner, the other justifies me from sin; the one by generation, the other by His blood. Shall there be sin in the seed of the  sinner and not righteousness in the blood of Christ?.... The offence, indeed, came to me, but so did grace; and not as the offence so also is the free gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification (Rom. 5:16). From the first man flowed down the offence, from the highest heaven came down the free gift: both from our father, one from our first father, the other from the Supreme Father. My earthly birth destroys me, and does not my heavenly much more save me? And I am not afraid of being rejected by the Father of lights when I have been rescued in this way from the power of darkness, and justified through His grace by the blood of His Son: It is God that justifies, who is it that condemns? The one who had mercy on the sinner will not condemn the righteous; I mean that I am righteous, but it is in His righteousness, for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes (Rom. 10:4).

Therefore where there is reconciliation there is remission of sins. And what is that but justification? Whether, therefore, we call it reconciliation, or remission of sins, or justification, or, again, redemption, or liberation from the chains of the devil, by whom we were taken captive at his will, at all events by the death of the Only Begotten, we obtain that we have been justified freely by His blood, in whom, as St. Paul says again, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7). You say, “Why by His blood when He could have wrought it by His Word?” Ask Himself. It is only allowed me to know that it is so, not why it is so. Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, “Why have You made me thus?”

Thus the Blood which was shed was so powerful for pardoning that it blotted out that greatest sin of all, by which it came to pass that it was shed; and, therefore, left no doubt whatever about the blotting out of that ancient and lighter sin. Thus he rejoins: “Is there any one to whom it does not seem cruel and unjust, that any one should require the blood of an innocent man as the price of some thing, or that the death of an innocent man should in any way give him pleasure, not to say that God should hold so acceptable the death of His Son as by it to be reconciled to the whole world?” God the Father did not require the Blood of His Son, but, nevertheless, He accepted it when offered; it was not blood He thirsted for, but salvation, for salvation was in the blood.


Justified by the blood of Christ, --we shall be saved by him from God’s wrath.

He gave himself as an offering to God, a gift of pleasing fragrance – we shall be saved by him from God’s wrath.