Friday, June 8, 2012
The old feast was called "Corpus Christi" (Body of Christ) and the emphasis was on adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. About 40 years ago the name was changed to "The Body and Blood of Christ" and the emphasis was changed to offering ourselves with Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Mass. We were encouraged to take communion under the form of wine as well as bread. Every third year, as this year, the readings focus on the Blood of Christ.
It's not something Catholics think about a lot. Many still do not receive communion from the cup. Blood is vividly featured in the first reading from Exodus 24:3-8. Moses takes half the blood from sacrificed bulls and splashes it on the altar, the symbol of God. The other half he sprinkles on the people, saying "This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you." The blood unites the people with God.
In the Gospel at the Last Supper Jesus says, "This is my blood of the covenant which will be poured out for many." Jesus doesn't splash his blood on us to unite us to him externally. He gives us his blood to drink so that we are united to him internally and carried with him to his Father in his great sacrifice.
"By Christ's Blood we were redeemed, our sins forgiven through extravagant love." (Ephesians 1:7)
Last evening the sun was setting in the west, it was raining where I took the picture, and in the east it was thunder and lightning.