Month of the Precious Blood (Day 7)
July 07, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
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.’ 
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 might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of him shall you break.” 
-- and immediately there came out blood and water.

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. 
Musical Selection
Summa laus Jesu Christo sit per aevum, qui dum ligni maledíctum factus est propter hóminem. *Ad óvile Patris lapsus tractus est homo. V. Cuius dum mílitis láncea latus foderétur, sanguis efflúxit per quem morte devícta. * Ad óvile Patris. V. Glória Patri et Fílio et Spirítui Sancto. Sicut érat prímo et nunc et semper *Ad óvile Patris
The highest praise be given through all eternity to Jesus Christ. While He was made a reviled object on the cross for man’s sake, *Fallen man was led to the fold of the Father. V. When His side was pierced by the soldier’s spear, the blood flowed forth, through which, after death was vanquished, *Fallen man. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As was first, and now, and always *Fallen man.
God of life and love,
from the pierced heart of your Son
flowed water and blood,
cleansing the world
and giving birth to your Church.
Renew within your people
the love poured out on us in baptism,
and through the blessing-cup we share
keep us always faithful
to your life-giving covenant.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen. (Sacred Heart of Jesus; ICEL 1998)