Month of the Precious Blood (Day 1)
July 01, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
A Month of Readings on the Precious Blood (Year B)
The month of the precious Blood should be preached daily in our churches 
and we should not be looking for needless excuses…. (Ven. Giovanni Merlini)
I suspect that Merlini’s admonition to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood might have something to do with wondering where they would get enough material for a month’s worth of sermons. With this contribution, appearing many years after its long-unavailable predecessor, I hope to assist those committed to the spirituality of the Precious Blood to deepen their acquaintance with the richness of reflection on a topic dear to them from a variety of authors. I hope too that observance of the month traditionally dedicated to the mystery of Christ’s Blood might likewise be enhanced by this volume’s encouragement to do so prayerfully after the model of the Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours. To that end it follows the familiar pattern of invitatory-hymn-psalmody-readings-responsory-collect.  The readings from Scripture follow a one-year cursus while those taken from other sources follow a three-year cycle according to the Sunday Lectionary patterns of  Years A, B and C. Among these latter writings, I have tried to include voices that are familiar as well as some that, hopefully, will be new to readers.

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. 

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.
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.  
Musical Selection (with lyrics)
Father, who through the blood of Jesus your Son, the Lamb sacrificed on the cross, redeemed us, sanctified us, and made us your people; grant that all may accept this gift of your love, celebrate it joyfully in the Spirit, and drink of it in the Eucharistic chalice, the sign of your covenant and blessing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Feast of the Precious Blood; Contemporary)