Precious Blood Readings (Days 21-26)
July 21, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 21

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:7-16)

From “In Water and in Blood” by Robert Schreiter (+2021)

Hebrews has Christ identifying with the bodies of the animals that were burned outside the camp. To be placed outside the camp or outside the gates in such a community-oriented society meant more than a shunning or an exclusion. It was a denial of existence itself the ultimate act of Jesus' being made a nonperson. Yet it was in accepting this ultimate degradation that the fullness of redemption could be achieved…. [T]the cross becomes the new dwelling place of God, juxtaposed against the pretensions of the human city, which tries to create its own reality on its own terms. But what counts for strong and weak, for acceptable and rejected, in that city is not held so by God. Hebrews has the pilgrimage procession of Christians going out of that humanly defined city and gathering around the cross. "Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name" (13:15). This helps bring some clarity to those hopeless situations  in which we can find ourselves. To hope for salvation only within the terms of our own resources is to fool ourselves. Salvation calls for pilgrimage, acknowledging that the current situation cannot be the frame of reference. Rather, we must go out of that city and seek a crucified Christ outside the gates. Seen in this fashion, that new and everlasting covenant inaugurated in the heavenly liturgy is not simply a grand spectacle representing the culmination of the current age. It is sharply critical of the presence of sin in the world today, of injustices left unrighted. That a new covenant had to be inaugurated says something about the state of our participation in the previous covenant. That heavenly liturgy cannot be understood from the sanctuaries of our temples, but only from the perspective of being outside the gate, standing at the foot of Jesus' cross. It is only from that vantage point that we can come to understand what that heavenly liturgy is trying to say.

A spirituality of the one who comes in water and in blood is a spirituality that offers hospitality and a renewed life, and it also brings with it the prospect of witnessing even unto blood. It offers a cup of blessing and a cup of suffering. It is a spirituality that calls for solidarity with the poor and those who suffer, as close to concrete existence as the need for water and as essential to life as the flow of blood. To be a disciple of the one who has come in water and in blood is to attend to the physical and the immediate even as we hope for the future and struggle for a better world. It is to know the numbing ache of chronic pain and to experience the exuberant rush of the dawning of our expectations. It seeks the healing of a fractured world and the rebirth of grace.


That he might sanctify the people with his own blood, Jesus suffered without the gate.

-- Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.  

You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 

-- Let us go forth therefore unto him without the gate, bearing his reproach.

Day 22


A reading from the First Letter of St. Peter

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:1-9)

From “The Treasures Which We Have in Jesus Christ” by St. Vincent Mary Strambi (+1824)

Look at the Lord on the cross. Look at the great Priest on the altar, offering himself as a victim pleasing to the heavenly and eternal Father, Look at the Bridegroom of our souls on the nuptial bed, inviting us to unite ourselves lovingly with him. Look at our teacher instructing us from the pulpit of love. Look at the divine Word-made-man, bathed in blood for our salvation: He wore a cloak that had been sprinkled in blood and his name was the Word of God. Look at the cross, the source of all blessedness, deserving of all our love. Look at Jesus. I seem to see him with a hundred bloody wounds. He hangs, I would say, rather from sorrow and pain than from nails.  Although his agony and torment are crushing enough already, they increase the closer he approaches death. The angelic doctor, Saint Thomas, notes that in every case of death by crucifixion the suffering is extreme and protracted. The pain keeps increasing as the victim slowly dies.  How much more terrible must have been the pain in Jesus’ body, for he was a young man and was already so racked with pain as to seem the image of pain itself.  Ah, Jesus most afflicted, how much you have suffered for us. Most loving Lord, you are tormented in every part of your body; there is no soundness left in you.

His lacerated back scrapes against the rough-hewn wood and shrinks from the harshness of this deathbed. His arms, forcibly stretched out, ache violently, and his head throbs from the wounds made by the piercing thorns. His feet trembled spasmodically against the nails that torture and immobilize them on the gibbet, while his hands writhe from the intensity of the pain. Indeed, his whole body is overwhelmed in one dreadful torment.

I stop here at the foot of the cross. I come close to it; I embrace it. I kiss it, especially where it is drenched most liberally with the blood of the Crucified. With humble and tender love I ask my loving Lord: Why such a painful deathbed? Why all these added sufferings when you have already been immersed in a great sea of suffering?

My brothers and sisters, through the wounds of the Lord, let us plunge into the boundless ocean of God’s love. The apostle Sant Paul, our guide and instructor, says that Jesus, dying on the cross, wanted to show the ardor of his love for us. The Crucified is a furnace of love flaming out on every side. How many are the wounds, which are so many apertures through which the fire flares; how many of the blood lacerations, which are so many mouths crying out: Love, love!

The Crucified is a book written in letter of blood, teaching us God’s love. The more severe and numerous the wounds and bruises, the more Jesus would have us realize the immense scope of God’s love. God-made-man suffers for love of us; so that we may be aflame with love for him, he uses every expedient to make us attentive to his love. 


The price of your redemption was not something of fleeting value like gold or silver,
but the costly shedding of the blood of Christ, the lamb without blemish.
– Through him, in the one Spirit, we can approach the Father.

The blood of Jesus Christ washes away all our sins.
– Through him, in the one Spirit, we can approach the Father.

Day 23

A reading from the First Letter of St. Peter

If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. (1 Peter 1:17-21)

From the “Commentary on the Gospel of John” by St. John Chrysostom (+407)

The blood which we receive as food does not immediately nourish us, but only after it has passed through some other stage. But it is far different with this Blood, for It at once refreshes the soul and fills it with a great power. When worthily received, this Blood repels demons. It puts them to flight and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. Where they see the Blood of the Lord, demons flee, while angels foregather. This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. Blessed Paul has uttered many truths about it in the Epistle to the Hebrews. This Blood has purified the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies.

Now if its type had so much power, both in the Temple of the Hebrews and in the midst of the Egyptians when sprinkled on the doorposts, the reality is much more powerful. In its types this Blood sanctified the golden altar. Without it, the high Priest did not dare to enter the sanctuary. This Blood has ordained priests! In its types it has washed away sins! And if it had such great power in its types, if death shuddered ... at the figure, how terrifying would the reality itself be, pray tell? This Blood is the salvation of our souls. Through it the soul is cleansed; through it, beautified; through it, inflamed. It makes our intellect grow brighter than fire. It renders our soul more radiant than gold. This Blood has been poured forth and has opened the way to heaven. This Blood was formerly foreshadowed continually on altars, in sacrifices of the Law. This is the price of the world. Through it Christ purchased the Church. Through it He adored her entirely. Just as a man purchases slaves with gold and, if he so desires, adorns them with gold, so also Christ has both purchased us with His Blood and adorned us with His Blood. Those who share in this Blood have taken their stand with angels, and archangels, and the powers from on high, clad in the royal livery of Christ with spiritual weapons in their hands. But all I have mentioned is very little, for they are adorned with the King Himself.


The price of your redemption was not something of fleeting value like gold or silver, but the costly shedding of the blood of Christ

 -- the lamb without blemish.  

The blood of Jesus Christ washes away all our sins

– the lamb without blemish.

Day 24

A reading from the First Letter of St. John

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)

From the letters of St. Catherine of Siena (+1380)

Hide yourself under the wings of God’s mercy, for he is more ready to pardon than you are to sin. Immerse yourself in the blood of Christ, where your soul will grow fat on hope. Oh gentlest love! How well this mercy suits you!  Take a good look! What kept God from ordering the earth to swallow us up and the animals to devour us after our first fall? Instead he lent us time and waited patiently for us. What explains our having received such favor? Our non-existent virtues? No! Only God’s infinite mercy! So now that he is treating us so mercifully when we are lying in the darkness of deadly sin, we should be so much more hopeful in lively confidence that he will do the same if we acknowledge our sins and return to the ark, to the yoke of obedience. There let us trample underfoot and kill our selfish will and sleep no longer. Take on once again the yoke of obedience and the key of Christ’s blood which you have thrown into the deep well. Take them up again with heartfelt contrition, with contempt for the sin you have committed and with lively faith. Gaze into supreme eternal Truth, and take hold of the firm confidence that God will mercifully welcome you and pardon you the sin you have committed. And the eternal Father will come to meet you with the overflowing fullness of his grace. 


God is light and in him there is no darkness at all

-- and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another

-- and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Day 25

A reading from the First Letter of St. John

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:6-12)

From the “Dialogue” of St. Catherine of Siena (+1380)

“The soul also receives Baptism in another way, speaking in figurative terms, by special providence of my divine love. I was well aware of human fragility and weakness, that leads human beings to offend me. Persons are not constrained by this nor by any other thing to commit the fault, if they do not wish, but being weak they commit mortal sins, thus losing the grace they received in holy baptism by virtue of the Blood. For this reason it was necessary that Divine Love should make available a continual baptism of the Blood. This baptism comes about through a contrite heart and through confession of sins to a priest, when possible, for they have the keys of the Blood, the Blood the priest pours upon the soul when he absolves the person. If someone is unable to confess, contrition of heart is sufficient. Then my mercy bestows on you the fruit of this precious Blood, but if you can confess I want you to do so, and whoever being able does not confess, will remain deprived of the benefit of the Blood. However, it is true that whoever, at the moment of death wants to confess and is unable to do it, he likewise shall receive the fruit of the Blood. But let nobody be so foolish at life’s end, hoping to set his soul in order, because it is not certain that I, due to his obstinacy, may say in consonance with my divine justice: ‘You did not remember me during your life, when you had time. I do not remember you now at the point of death!’

Let no one procrastinate it, but even if there should be somebody who has willfully done so, he ought not omit baptizing himself with hope in the Blood even if it were the last day. You see then how this baptism is continual and the soul must be baptized in it until life’s end, as I have indicated. Through this baptism you can understand that the torment of the cross ended, but the fruit of this torment, which you received from me is infinite. This is due to my infinite divine nature, united to finite human nature. This human nature suffered in me, Word, clothed with your humanity. Since one nature is joined and kneaded with the other, the eternal divinity brought upon itself the torment which I bore with such ardent love.

That is why this my action can be said to be infinite, not because the torment suffered bodily is infinite, nor the torment of my desire of accomplishing your redemption, which really finished and came to an end on the cross when the soul was separated from the body. But the fruit that sprang from that torment and the desire for your salvation are infinite. That is the reason why you can unsparingly receive this fruit. If it had not been infinite then humanity would not have been redeemed: people of the past, the present and the future. It would not have been possible for persons who sin to be purified from their sins, if this baptism of blood had not been offered without measure, because the fruit of the Blood is infinite.

I showed you this in my open side, where you discover the secret of my heart: namely, that I love you much more than what I could show you with the finite torment. I have shown you that my love is infinite. In what way? With the baptism of the Blood, joined to the fire of my charity, that out of love was poured out; and through baptism, understood in the common sense, given to Christians, to whoever wishes to receive it, baptism of water joined to blood and to fire, in which the soul is kneaded with my blood. To show you all this I wanted blood and water to flow forth from my side. Now I have answered your request.”


This is the one who came in water and blood, Jesus Christ

– not in water only, but in water and blood. 

It is the Spirit who gives testimony, because the Spirit is truth

– not in water only, but in water and blood.

Day 26

A reading from the Book of Revelation

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds;
   every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
   and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:1-8)

From the “Commentary on the Apocalypse” by Abbot Rupert of Deutz (+1129)

He has made us a royal race of priests to the honour of God, his Father. In this text Scripture shows us Christ’s marvellous kindness and condescension. Our minds are too limited to grasp a statement of such magnitude, our tongues too weak to render adequate praise. The truth is that when Christ bought us at such great cost to himself - at the cost indeed of his most precious blood - it was not with the intention of making us his slaves; his purpose was to create a royal race of priests to the honour of God his Father. We were to be his Father’s kingdom, and priests in the service of God. He alone was King and Priest in his own right, yet he resolved to make kings of the slaves of sin and priests of the children of death. To that end he shed his blood. 

O Lord our God, how wonderful is your name, how wonderful the majesty and honour with which you have crowned the Lord Jesus as King of kings! You have set on his head the crowns of all those kings who form your kingdom, for yours is a kingdom of kings, resplendent in their regalia, each consecrated to you by the blood of Christ. 

We are also told that he has made us priests who share in that sacrifice by which Christ himself triumphed over the devil and so destroyed the dominion of sin. We do not all possess the fullness of the priesthood here on earth, with the power to bring about the real presence of our Lord’s body and blood by pronouncing the words of consecration, but all of us are called to exercise a priestly function by offering ourselves to God according to that exhortation of the Apostle Paul: I beseech you to present your bodies to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to him, since this is the service required of rational beings. In no other way shall we be permitted to enter into the celestial Holy of Holies, by which I mean heaven itself. 

In heaven the sacramental species of bread and wine, which constitute our present sacrifice, will find no place. None of us, however, will ever lack matter for sacrifice there. Our lips will always be able to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, a hymn of rejoicing and the proclamation of God’s mighty works. Indeed the next verse from the Apocalypse supplies us with a model for such a heavenly sacrifice in the acclamation: Glory and power to him for ever and ever! Amen. And this is certainly what the law of justice requires of us, namely, that creatures should return thanks and praise to their creator for all the benefits they have received. As an example, we can take Moses and the children of Israel. When they had been delivered from bondage in Egypt by the immolation of the passover lamb, and had seen Pharaoh and his army drowned in the Red Sea, they sang a canticle of praise to the Lord. 

To keep one’s mouth closed and to silence one’s tongue, instead of voicing one’s thanks in acknowledgment of a favour received, is a sure sign of ingratitude. Therefore when John intones this short hymn of praise and thanksgiving, Glory and power to him forever and ever! let us all reply: Amen. In the words of the Apostle Paul: Let every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. 


Christ loved us, and poured out his blood to free us from our sins.
- He has made of us a kingdom of priests.

Live then in love, even as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
- He has made of us a kingdom of priests.