Readings on the Precious Blood (Day 1-10)
July 01, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Readings for Year B

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 Sacramentary” by Bl. Ildefonso Schuster (+1954)

The meaning of this festival [of the Precious Blood] is closely akin to that of the Sacred Heart. The precious Blood is the price of universal redemption, which love would not have to be anything less than itself.  There is a very close connection between the Heart and the Blood not only because, according to saint John, after the death of Jesus, blood and water flowed from his wounded Heart, but because of the first chalice in which that divine Blood was consecrated and vivified was precisely the Heart of the incarnate Word. The apostle in Rome of this special devotion to the most precious Blood of Jesus was the Blessed Gaspare del Bufalo, founder of the congregation of missionaries of that name. 

Redemption is universal because God is essentially Love, which has neither measure nor limit. Therefore the most heroic sanctity is possible in every class and in all conditions of life, as we may see from the records of the Church.

It is impossible to despair of one’s own salvation after the sacrifice of Calvary. If the blood of the lawful victims of the Jewish Temple possessed such efficacy, of how much greater power will not be his Blood, who, inflamed with the fervour of the Paraclete, offered himself wholly to the sanctity and justice of the Father for the redemption of the world? Each time, then, that we raise our eyes to the image of our crucified Saviour and look upon those wounds and that Blood, let us say to him with loving confidence: “My merits, O Lord, consist only in those wounds which thou hast suffered for me.”

Our Saviour shed his Blood profusely in his passion, therefore we ask ourselves the question why St. John alludes in such solemn terms to the last effusion of his blood mixed with water when the heart of Jesus had already ceased to beat. The Father reply that it is because of its symbolic meaning. The false gnosis asserted that the divine nature of Jesus had abandoned him at the moment when he exclaimed upon the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” St. John, on the other hand, who had previously declared that the testimony borne by the Holy Spirit to the divine nature of Jesus at the river Jordan was identical with that shown by the symbolism of the water and the blood which flowed from his Heart after his death, here purposely relates the symbolic miracle guaranteeing its authenticity by his own authority as an apostle of the Word. 


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 “On the Paschal Solemnity” by Eusebius of Caesarea (+339) 

In the time of Moses, the paschal lamb was sacrificed only once a year, on the fourteenth day of the first month toward evening, but we of the new covenant celebrate our Passover every week on the Lord’s day. We are continually being filled with the body of the Saviour and sharing in the blood of the Lamb. Daily we gird ourselves with chastity and prepare, staff in hand, to follow the path of the Gospel. Leaning on the rod, that came forth from the root of Jesse, we are always departing from Egypt in search of the solitude of the desert. We are constantly setting out on our journey to God and celebrating the Passover. The Gospel would have us do these things not only once a year but daily.

We hold our Eucharistic celebration every week on the day of our Lord and Saviour, for this is our paschal feast, the feast of the true Lamb who redeemed us. We do not circumcise the body with a knife, but with the sharp edge of the word of God we cut away all evil from our souls. We use no unleavened bread, except for that of sincerity and truth. Grace has freed us from outward Jewish customs and created us anew in the image of God. It has given us a new law, a new circumcision, a new Passover, and made us Jews inwardly, thus releasing us from our former bondage.

On the fifth day of the week, while having supper with his disciples, the Saviour said to them: With all my heart I have longed to eat this Passover with you. It was not the old Jewish Passover that he desired to share with his disciples, but the new Passover of the new covenant that he was giving to them, and that many prophets and upright people before him had longed to see. He proclaimed his desire for the new Passover which he, the Word himself, in his infinite thirst for the salvation of the whole human race, was establishing as a feast to be celebrated by all peoples everywhere. The Passover of Moses was not for all peoples, indeed it could not be, because the law allowed it to be celebrated only in Jerusalem. Christ’s desire, then, must have been not for the old Passover, but for the saving mystery of the new covenant which was for everyone.

And so we too should eat this Passover with Christ. We should cleanse our minds of all the leaven of evil and wickedness and be filled with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, becoming Jews inwardly, in our souls, where the true circumcision takes place. We should anoint the lintel of our mind with the blood of the Lamb who was sacrificed for us, and so ward off our destroyer. We should do this not only once a year, but every week, continually.

On the day before the Sabbath we fast in memory of our Saviour’s passion, as the apostles were the first to do when the bridegroom was taken from them. On the Lord’s day we receive life from the sacred body of our saving Passover and our souls are sealed with his precious blood.


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 Treatise Upon the Passion” by St. Thomas More (+1535)

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus it is related that Moses, in confirmation of the old Law, put half the blood of the sacrifice into a cup, and the other half he shed upon the altar. And, after the book of the Law had been read, he sprinkled the blood upon the people and said unto them: This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in all these words. And so was the Old Testament ratified and confirmed with blood. And in like manner was the New Testament confirmed with blood, saving that, in order to declare the greater excellence of the New Testament brought by the Son of God, above the Old Testament brought by the prophet Moses, whereas the Old Testament was ratified with the blood of a brute beast, the New Testament was ratified with the blood of a rational man, and of that man who was also God, that is to say, with the blessed blood of our holy Saviour himself. And that self-same blood did our Lord here give unto his apostles in this blessed sacrament, as he plainly declared himself, saying: This is my blood of the New Testament, or: This is the chalice of the New Testament in my blood which shall be shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.

When our Lord said this, he declared therein the efficacy of the New Testament above the old, in that the old Law in the blood of beasts could only promise the remission of sin that was to come later. For as Saint Paul says: It was impossible that sin should be taken away by the blood of brute beasts. But the new Law with the blood of Christ does perform the thing that the old Law promised, that is, the remission of sin And therefore our Saviour said: This is the chalice of the New Testament in my blood – that is, to be confirmed in my blood – which shall be shed for the remission of sins.

His words also declared the wonderful excellence of this new blessed sacrament above the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, in these words: For you and for many. For in these words our Saviour spoke, says Saint Chrysostom, as though he meant to say: The blood of the paschal Lamb was shed only for the first-born among the children of Israel, but this blood of mine shall be shed for the remission of the sin of all the whole world.


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 “A treatise on faith addressed to Peter” by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (+533)

The sacrifices of animal victims which our forefathers were commanded to offer to God by the holy Trinity itself, the one God of the old and the new testaments, foreshadowed the most acceptable gift of all. This was the offering which in his compassion the only Son of God would make of himself in his human nature for our sake.

The Apostle teaches that Christ offered himself for us to God as a fragrant offering and sacrifice. He is the true God and the true high priest who for our sake entered once for all into the holy of holies, taking with him not the blood of bulls and goats but his own blood. This was foreshadowed by the high priest of old when each year he took blood and entered the holy of holies.

Christ is therefore the one who in himself alone embodied all that he knew to be necessary to achieve our redemption. He is at once priest and sacrifice, God and temple. He is the priest through whom we have been reconciled, the sacrifice by which we have been reconciled, the temple in which we have been reconciled, the God with whom we have been reconciled. He alone is priest, sacrifice and temple because he is all these things as God in the form of a servant; but he is not alone as God, for he is this with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of God.

Hold fast to this and never doubt it: the only-begotten Son, God the Word, becoming man offered himself for us to God as a fragrant offering and sacrifice. In the time of the old testament, patriarchs, prophets and priests sacrificed animals in his honor, and in honor of the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. Now in the time of the new testament the holy catholic Church throughout the world never ceases to offer the sacrifice of bread and wine, in faith and love, to him and to the Father and the Holy Spirit, with whom he shares one Godhead.

Those animal sacrifices foreshadowed the flesh of Christ which he would offer for our sins, though himself without sin, and the blood which he would pour out for the forgiveness of our sins. In this sacrifice there is thanksgiving for, and commemoration of, the flesh of Christ that he offered for us, and the blood that the same God poured out for us. On this Saint Paul says in the Acts of the Apostles: Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as bishops to rule the Church of God, which he won for himself by his blood.

Those sacrifices of old pointed in sign to what was to be given to us. In this sacrifice we see plainly what has already been given to us. Those sacrifices foretold the death of the Son of God for sinners. In this sacrifice he is proclaimed as already slain for sinners, as the Apostle testifies: Christ died for the wicked at a time when we were still powerless, and when we were enemies we were reconciled with God through the death of his Son.


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 writings of René Girard (+2015)

Many of the scenes from Genesis and Exodus are apparently concerned, on the historical level, with a state of transition from a world in which human sacrifice was practised on a regular basis, particularly the sacrifice of the first-born, to a world in which the only legitimate blood rites are circumcision and the burning of animal victims (Jacob’s blessing, the sacrifice of Abraham, the circumcision of Moses’s son, and so on). There is no lack of texts to back up this hypothesis. From our standpoint its advantage is that it allows us to view the Bible permeated by a single, dynamic movement away from sacrifice. We can distinguish a number of very different stages — differing in their content and the results they produced — which are nonetheless identical in general bearing and form. This form always involves the preliminary disintegration of a pre-existing system, a catastrophic crisis that ends happily when the victimage mechanism provides a mediation, and the subsequent establishment of a sacrificial system that became more and more humane. The first stage is the transition from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice in the so-called patriarchal period; the second, in Exodus, is the institution of Passover, which accentuates the common meal rather than the burnt sacrifice and can hardly claim to be a sacrifice at all in the proper sense of the term. The third stage is represented by the prophets’ wish to renounce all forms of sacrifice, and this is only carried out in the Gospels.

[Thus the] Eucharist is really related to sacrifice but instead of representing the violence against the victim, of being the victim that you eat, you eat the total refusal of violence, which is Christ. It’s a reversal, but it’s still the same symbolism. The anthropologists are right to point that out. It doesn’t mean it means the same thing, but what they see is that it is the same thing, so since they think that the killing is only symbolical anyway, they feel the Eucharist and sacrifice are pretty much the same thing. But it is not because the shedding of blood, the violence in sacrifice, is essential. It means the end of violence yet at the same time it shows the continuity with a whole history of religion, so when the anthropologists tell you “Hey, it’s cannibalism” you should answer “Yes, of course, cannibalism is part of human history and the Eucharist summarizes it all in non-violence.” Therefore, why not cannibalism there as well? Cannibalism is the essence of sacrifice. Cannibalism means that you eat the sacrificial victim in order to be your victim, because you want to be that victim. The reason you killed him is you want to be him/her. Therefore, if you absorb his/her flesh, you become them, just as if you absorb the flesh of Christ, you should become a little bit nonviolent, more than you were before. If you understand this text, you also perceive that people who want to fool us cannot have put it there. We can discover in these sayings tremendous aspects that no one has yet discovered that fit the Christian meaning. Like the stone that the builders rejected. So therefore faith is highly linked to the text; that must be something a little bit Protestant in me. It is Christ himself who takes assumes the responsibility of quoting that psalm (118:22), saying “explain it to me, explain the relationship with me.” We haven’t deciphered it yet. It should be enough for everybody to understand that Christianity is not a text like others where part of its truth is still hidden but decipherable. This is the sort of thing that can restore the damaged faith of our time.


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 writings of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi (+1607)

O Lord, the soul’s mouth….lovingly tastes you; it savours the purity of the divine essence and of your humanity and attains to such a knowledge of your purity that that which used to seem virtue to it, now seems like a shortcoming both in itself and in others. Receiving the Holy Sacraments which draw strength from your Blood and from your Passion, and of the Blood that was she therein. We savour this most fully when we receive the holy Sacrament of your Body and Blood, for there more than anywhere else this sweetness and grace are found hidden, when the Sacrament is really received with purity and honesty. Let whoever wishes to taste of your gentleness and sweetness approach this Blood and there he will find all rest and consolation. The soul will be washed with this Blood, cleansed in this Blood, nourished by this Blood.

O Word Made Flesh and slain Lamb, You have given Your blood for humans, I mean for Your spouse, the Church! Please make this blood penetrate the heart of my most dear Father, the minister of that blood, so that in offering anew that blood and nourishing himself by it continually he may be able to make its power known and understood! Of, if in the Old Testament the blood of irrational creatures, offered by other creatures, had the power of purifying and cleansing in part-- how much more will this blood, which is not the blood of a mere creature, but of God and of man, have the power of purifying hearts and making that work understood! For, this work has to proceed from and be accomplished in virtue of that blood!

O my beloved Spouse and loving Word, you engender the Body of the holy Church in a way which you alone know and understand…By means of your Blood, you make a well-organized, well-formed body of which you are the head. The angels delight in its beauty, the archangels admire it, the seraphim are enraptured by it, all the angelic spirits marvel at it, and all the souls of the blessed in heaven rejoice in it. the Blessed Trinity takes delight in it in a manner beyond our comprehension.


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 “Tractate on the Gospel of John” by St. Augustine (+430)

The soldiers came to Jesus, however, 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. The evangelist uses a well chosen word. He does not say that the soldier “pierced” or “wounded” Christ’s side or some similar expression; rather, he says he “opened” it. He thereby indicates that in Christ’s wounded side a door of life was opened, from which flowed out the sacraments of the Church, those sacraments without which it is impossible to enter into life which is true life. That blood was shed for the remission of sins; that water was an essential part of the cup of salvation: it is used both for purifying and for drinking. This mystery was foreshadowed when Noah was instructed to make a door in the side of the ark (Gen 6:16) . Through that door, in prefigurement of the Church, entered the animals that were to survive the flood. Another foreshadowing of this mystery was given when the first woman was formed from the side of the man as he slept (Gen 2:22) , and was called Life and the mother of the living. Indeed, she signified a great good before the great evil of sin. Here the second Adam, bowing his head, slept on the cross so that his bride might be formed from the blood and water which flowed from his side as he slept. O death, by which the dead come to life again! What is more cleansing than this blood? What is more life-giving than this wound? The testimony, the evangelist continues, has been given by an eyewitness and his testimony is true. He tells what he knows is true, so that you may believe. The evangelist does not say “so that you may know” but “so that you may believe”. For he who sees, knows, and he who has not seen believes in his testimony. Believing belongs more to the nature of faith than seeing. In fact, what does it mean to believe if not to give faith?

These events took place, explains the evangelist, for the fulfillment of Scripture: ‘Break none of his bones.’ There is still another Scripture passage which says: ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced.’ John recalls two testimonies from Scripture to attest to the truth of the events he has narrated. He confirms the statement: When they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs with the prophecy: Break none of his bones.  For the Old Law had ordained that those who celebrated the Passover should immolate a lamb, a symbol of the Lord’s sacrifice. Therefore, Saint Paul  says: Christ our Passover has been sacrificed, just as Isaiah had foretold: Like a lamb he was led to slaughter. The evangelist then confirms his statement: One of the soldiers opened his side with a lance with the prophecy: They shall look on him whom they have pierced. This prophecy proclaims that Christ will come again in the same flesh in which he was crucified.


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 a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement I (+99)

Let the person truly possessed by the love of Christ keep his commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendor of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins, has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others. By it all God’s chosen ones have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please him. Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God’s will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life’s blood for us—he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.

See then, beloved, what a great and wonderful thing love is, and how inexpressible its perfection. Who are worthy to possess it unless God makes them so? To him therefore we must turn, begging of his mercy that there may be found in us a love free from human partiality and beyond reproach. Every generation from Adam’s time to ours has passed away; but those who by God’s grace were made perfect in love have a dwelling now among the saints, and when at last the kingdom of Christ appears, they will be revealed. Take shelter in your rooms for a little while, says Scripture, until my wrath subsides. Then I will remember the good days, and will raise you from your graves.

Happy are we, beloved, if love enables us to live in harmony and in the observance of God’s commandments, for then it will also gain for us the remission of our sins. Scripture pronounces happy those whose transgressions are pardoned, whose sins are forgiven. Happy the man, it says, to whom the Lord imputes no fault, on whose lips there is no guile. This is the blessing given those whom God has chosen through Jesus Christ our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


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 homily on Leviticus by Origen, priest (+253)

Once a year the high priest, leaving the people outside, entered that place where no one except the high priest might enter. In it was the mercy-seat, and above the mercy-seat the cherubim, as well as the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense.

Let me turn to my true high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. In our human nature he spent the whole year in the company of the people, the year that he spoke of when he said: He sent me to bring good news to the poor, to announce the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of forgiveness. Notice how once in that year, on the day of atonement, he enters into the holy of holies. Having fulfilled God’s plan, he passes through the heavens and enters into the presence of the Father to make him turn in mercy to the human race and to pray for all who believe in him.

John the apostle, knowing of the atonement that Christ makes to the Father for all men, says this: Little children, I say these things so that you may not sin. But if we have sinned we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the just one. He is the atonement for our sins.  In the same way Paul refers to this atonement when he says of Christ: God appointed him to be the atonement for our sins in his blood, through faith. We have then a day of atonement that remains until the world comes to an end.

God’s word tells us: The high priest shall put incense on the fire in the sight of the Lord. The smoke of the incense shall cover the mercy-seat above the tokens of the covenant, so that he may not die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull-calf and sprinkle it with his finger over the mercy-seat toward the east.

God taught the people of the old covenant how to celebrate the ritual offered to him in atonement for the sins of men. But you have come to Christ, the true high priest. Through his blood he has made God turn to you in mercy and has reconciled you with the Father. You must not think simply of ordinary blood but you must learn to recognize instead the blood of the Word. Listen to him as he tells you: This is my blood, which will be shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

There is a deeper meaning in the fact that the high priest sprinkles the blood toward the east. Atonement comes to you from the east. From the east comes the one whose name is Dayspring, he who is mediator between God and men. You are invited then to look always to the east: it is there that the sun of righteousness rises for you, it is there that the light is always being born for you. You are never to walk in darkness; the great and final day is not to enfold you in darkness. Do not let the night and mist of ignorance steal upon you. So that you may always enjoy the light of knowledge, keep always in the daylight of faith, hold fast always to the light of love and peace.


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 the “Second Easter Oration” by St. Gregory Nazianzen (+390)

To Whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was It shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the Evil One, sold under sin, and receiving pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask to whom was this offered, and for what cause? If to the Evil One, fie upon the outrage! If the robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and has such an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone altogether. But if to the Father, I ask first, how? For it was not by Him that we were being oppressed; and next, On what principle did the Blood of His Only begotten Son delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac, when he was being offered by his Father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in the place of the human victim? Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself, and overcome the tyrant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honour of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things? So much we have said of Christ; the greater part of what we might say shall be reverenced with silence. But that brazen serpent was hung up as a remedy for the biting serpents, not as a type of Him that suffered for us, but as a contrast; and it saved those that looked upon it, not because they believed it to live, but because it was killed, and killed with it the powers that were subject to it, being destroyed as it deserved. And what is the fitting epitaph for it from us? O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? You are overthrown by the Cross; you are slain by Him who is the Giver of life; you are without breath, dead, without motion, even though you keep the form of a serpent lifted up on high on a pole.

Now we will partake of a Passover which is still typical; though it is plainer than the old one. For that is ever new which is now becoming known. It is ours to learn what is that drinking and that enjoyment, and His to teach and communicate the Word to His disciples. For teaching is food, even to the Giver of food. Come hither then, and let us partake of the Law, but in a Gospel manner, not a literal one; perfectly, not imperfectly; eternally, not temporarily. Let us make our Head, not the earthly Jerusalem, but the heavenly City; not that which is now trodden under foot by armies, but that which is glorified by Angels. Let us sacrifice not young calves, nor lambs that put forth horns and hoofs, in which many parts are destitute of life and feeling; but let us sacrifice to God the sacrifice of praise upon the heavenly Altar, with the heavenly dances; let us hold aside the first veil; let us approach the second, and look into the Holy of Holies. Shall I say that which is a greater thing yet? Let us sacrifice ourselves to God; or rather let us go on sacrificing throughout every day and at every moment. Let us accept anything for the Word’s sake. By sufferings let us imitate His Passion: by our blood let us reverence His Blood: let us gladly mount upon the Cross. Sweet are the nails, though they be very painful. For to suffer with Christ and for Christ is better than a life of ease with others.

Many indeed are the miracles of that time: God crucified; the sun darkened and again rekindled; for it was fitting that the creatures should suffer with their Creator; the veil rent; the Blood and Water shed from His Side; the one as from a man, the other as above man; the rocks rent for the Rock's sake; the dead raised for a pledge of the final Resurrection of all people; the Signs at the Sepulcher and after the Sepulcher, which none can worthily celebrate; and yet none of these equal to the Miracle of my salvation. A few drops of Blood recreate the whole world, and become to all people what rennet is to milk, drawing us together and compressing us into unity.


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.