Eucharistic Readings for the Month of the Precious Blood (Days 27-29)
July 27, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Day 27
Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5:7-8)
From The Living Bread by Thomas Merton (+ 1968)
Each time the Mass is offered, the fruits of our Redemption are poured out anew upon our souls. By uniting ourselves with the sacred rite of the Mass, and above all by receiving Holy Communion, we enter into the sacrifice of Christ. We mystically die with the divine Victim and rise again with Him to a new life in God. We are freed from our sins, we are once again pleasing to God, and we receive grace to follow Him more generously in the life of charity and fraternal union which is the life of His Mystical Body.
Only in the light of this doctrine of the eucharistic life as a full participation in the sacrifice of Christ can we understand the moral and mystical theology of St. Paul. “For Christ our passover has been sacrificed,” he says. “Therefore let us keep festival not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:7-8). “If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life shall appear, then you too will appear with Him in glory at the right hand of the Father.
The grace of the Eucharist is not confined to the moments of thanksgiving after Mass and communion, but reaches out into our whole day and into all the affairs of our life, in order to sanctify and transform them in Christ.
It is clear that the Blessed Eucharist is given to us first of all that we may become perfect in charity ourselves, and then that our charity may communicate itself as a life-giving spiritual energy to other souls throughout the whole Church. Nor does Christ wait until we become perfect in love, before He makes our love bear fruit in the lives of others. It is by loving others that we grow in love for Him, and by loving Him, especially by entering deeply into the Mystery of the Cross and of the Eucharist, that we grow in our capacity to love others.

In short Christ comes to us in this sacrament to finish the work His Father gave Him to do. He comes to us to fill our souls with that charity which led Him to die for us on the Cross. He comes to live in our hearts and to lead us to the one end to which all rightly ordered human activity tends: the love of God and the love of our neighbor in God. If we will respond to His love, if we will let this divine Sacrament purify our hearts of all attachment to worldly things, He will make us stronger and more resolute in loving Him. He will teach us to understand not only His love for us, but His love for our neighbor. He will teach us to see into the depths of our brother's heart, by humility and self-effacing compassion. He will teach us that it is not enough to bear with the frailties and the sins of others, we must also love them even unto the death of the Cross. As Christ came to die for us when we were all His enemies, we no longer have any excuse for willfully hating any man. As Christ came to overcome evil with good, so we too, nourished by this Sacrament, will learn that the charity of Christ is strong enough to reach out and embrace even our enemies and His, strong enough to conquer them and turn them from enemies into friends.


R/. The multitude of Israelites will slaughter a goat on the evening of the Passover, and they will eat meat and unleavened bread. V/. Our Pasch, Christ, has been slaughtered. Therefore let us feast on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. R/. The multitude…
Holy God,
we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ:
may we who are partakers at his table
reflect his life in word and deed,
that all the world may know his power to change and save.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Church of England)
Day 28
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Cor 10:16-21)
From his Easter homilies by St. Caesarius of Arles (+542)
At the nod of the commanding Lord, suddenly the vaults of heaven, the depths of the seas, and the vast reaches of the earth succeed to nothingness. The power of the Word issues commands with equal authority in spiritual sacraments, and the effect follows. That the power of the divine blessing bestows extraordinary benefits, and that it ought not appear strange and impossible that earthly and mortal things are changed into the substance of Christ, you yourself can bear witness, who have been reborn to Christ. For a long time you dwelt in interior exile, with no part in life, a wanderer from mercy and from the way of salvation. All at once you were introduced to the laws of Christ, and initiated into the saving mysteries; you passed into the body of the Church, not beholding but believing, and from a child of perdition you deserved to become an adopted child of God in hidden innocence. Though remaining in your ordinary visible stature, you were made greater than yourself. You were still the same person as before, but you became quite different in the ways of faith. Nothing was added externally, but your whole inner life was changed. Thus the person was made a child of Christ, and Christ was formed in the soul of the person. Unperceived by the body, your past defilement was washed away, and you suddenly put on a new dignity. And as you did not see with your eyes of sense, but believed in your heart that God healed your wounds, cured your infected sores, and wiped away your stains, so when you go up to the holy altar to be filled with its food, behold the sacred body and blood of your God by faith, marvel at it with reverence, taste it with your soul, grasp it with the hand of your heart, and consume it with a draught that is above all interior.
By the very fact that, as we know, the bread is made of innumerable grains of wheat, it is clear that the unity of the peoples is designated. The wheat, after it has been carefully cleansed, is ground to a white mass by the mill; it is then mixed with water, kneaded into a single loaf of bread, and baked. Similarly the various nations which subscribe to one faith make up the one body of Christ; and the Christian peoples, like innumerable grains of wheat, are separated from the idolatrous nations by the cleansing and sifting power of faith, and are gathered into one, while the infidels are rejected like cockle. As the wheat is prepared by the work of the two mill-stones, the Christian populace is purified by the two Testaments. By its inherent sanctity it is restored to the dignity of its primal origins, and by the waters of baptism, or the fire of the Holy Spirit, it is made the body of that eternal bread. Accordingly, as the grains cannot be separated from their union once the bread has been made, and as water cannot return to its own proper state once it has been mixed with wine, so the faithful and the wise, who know they have been redeemed by the blood and passion of Christ, ought like inseparable members so to cling to their head by the consecration of themselves and their fervent religious life, that they cannot be torn from Him either by their own will, or by compulsion, or by ambition for any earthly good, or finally by death itself.



The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because we who are many are one bread and one body
-- for we all partake of the one bread and one cup.  
Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup unworthily, will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord -- for we all partake of the one bread and one cup.


Stay with us, Lord Jesus,
and be our companion on our way
to set our hearts on fire with new hope.
Help us to recognize your presence among us
in the Scriptures we read,
and in the breaking of bread,
for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen. (Liturgy of the Hours)


Day 29

I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Cor 11:23-28)


From a Letter of St. Cyprian of Carthage (+258)

I wonder very much whence has originated this practice, that, contrary to evangelical and apostolical doctrine, water is offered in some places in the Lord’s cup, which water by itself cannot express the blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit also is not silent in the psalms on the sacrament of this thing, when he makes mention of the Lord’s cup, and says, “Thy inebriating cup, how excellent it is!” Now the cup which inebriates is assuredly mingled with wine, for water cannot inebriate anybody. And the cup of the Lord in such wise inebriates, as Noe also was intoxicated drinking wine, in Genesis. But because the intoxication of the Lord’s cup and blood is not such as the intoxication of the world’s wine, since the Holy Spirit said in the psalm, “Thy inebriating cup,” he added, “how excellent it is,” because doubtless the Lord’s cup so inebriates them that drink, that it makes them sober; that it restores their minds to spiritual wisdom; that each one recovers from the flavour of the world to the understanding of God; and in the same way, that by that common wine the mind is dissolved, and the soul relaxed, and all sadness is laid aside, so, when the blood of the Lord and the cup of salvation have been drunk, the memory of the old man is laid aside, and there arises an oblivion of the former worldly conversation, and the sorrowful and sad breast which before was oppressed by tormenting sins is eased by the joy of the divine mercy; because that only is able to rejoice him who drinks in the Church, which, when it is drunk, retains the Lord’s truth.


In the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ. But when the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with him in whom it believes; which association and conjunction of water and wine is so mingled in the Lord’s cup, that the mixture cannot any more be separated. Whence, moreover, nothing can separate the Church — that is, the people established in the Church, faithfully and firmly persevering in that which they have believed — from Christ, in such a way as to prevent their undivided love from always abiding and adhering. Thus, therefore, in consecrating the cup of the Lord, water alone cannot be offered, even as wine alone cannot be offered. For if anyone offer wine only, the blood of Christ is dissociated from us; but if the water be alone, the people are dissociated from Christ; but when both are mingled, and are joined with one another by a close union, there is completed a spiritual and heavenly sacrament. Thus the cup of the Lord is not indeed water alone, nor wine alone, unless each be mingled with the other.
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.”
Lord God,
you renew us with the living bread from heaven;
by it you nourish our faith,
increase our hope,
and strengthen our love:
teach us always to hunger for him who is the true and living bread,
and enable us to live by every word
that proceeds from out of your mouth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Church of England)