We celebrate today the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, what used to be known as Corpus Christi, which means “the Body of Christ”. With the revision of the Roman Missal several years ago, the title was expanded to include mention of the Precious Blood of Christ as well, for as many of you may remember from your religious education, the Eucharist is the “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity” of Jesus Christ. Today also marks the first time that we at Precious Blood Parish celebrate our patronal feast.
When the name of the newly-merged parish was announced last May by Archbishop Blair, there was more than just a little grumbling and discontent about it. It seemed archaic and old-fashioned, even strange. But with the passing of a year, and with most of us getting used to the new name, I have grown in my appreciation for it. Indeed, it is quite an honor for our parish to have this name.
In the time of the Old Testament, many cultures practiced animal sacrifice as a means of worshiping and even placating the gods. The shedding of blood was necessary for this to happen. Even in ancient Judaism, there was an elaborate sacrificial system centered in the Temple at Jerusalem whereby devout Jews would offer sacrifice to God as a means of worship, atonement for sin, and asking for blessings. This was established in the covenant on Mount Sinai between God and the Israelites.
With the death of Jesus once for all on the cross, there was no further need for the ancient Jewish sacrificial system. A NEW COVENANT was established. The blood of lambs, bulls, and goats was rendered powerless and insignificant by the Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away once and for all, the sins of the world. The death of Jesus, the shedding of his Blood, brought about the salvation and the redemption of the world. We remember and celebrate this new and everlasting covenant whenever we gather to celebrate the Eucharist.
The true significance of the Precious Blood is brought out quite well in the Prayer over the Offerings taken from the Votive Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads as follows:
As we offer our oblation to your majesty, O Lord, may we draw near in these mysteries
to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and celebrate anew the sprinkling of his Blood, in which lies all our salvation.
Through Christ our Lord.
Have a good week!