Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 393

But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.

It is wonderful to see the number of Catholics who more deeply participate in the Eucharist as they drink the Blood of the Lord from the chalice. This privilege, once permitted only to bishops, priests and deacons, belongs to the baptized. 
One of the Fathers of the Church, remarking on that practice, promised his congregation that the Avenging Angel, seeing the blood on the lips of God's people, would pass over them. 
There are innumerable references to blood in the scriptures, beginning with the blood of Abel that cried to heaven for revenge, through the "blood and water" that fell from Jesus' body when he was crucified, to Revelation 19: 13: 
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. 
The implication is always violent. Blood is not supposed to leave the body; it does so only when the body has been violated. But this violence is a sacred sacrifice which is beautiful and precious in God's sight. The Father is pleased and grateful for the Son who offers his life to save his people. 
So when the Christian drinks the Blood of the Lamb she welcomes the full measure of blessings and trials that must come her way. 
If Jesus was not exempt from suffering, obviously his disciple will not be either. 
Saint Francis readily embraced the way of the cross when he taught his friars that poverty is the easiest, surest, quickest and most blessed way to heaven. Just as Jesus was homeless and poor, as he relied on kind strangers in every town he visited, so should the friars prefer neediness, shortages and the ever-present possibilities of hunger, cold and privation. 
As Francis' teaching worked its way into popular devotions, traditional expressions appeared. We say things like, "Offer it up!" and "All for Jesus." These sayings help us cope with the disappointments which are natural and inevitable. 
If my first emotional reaction was self-pity and "Why me?" remembering the Blood of Jesus I will ask, "Why not me?" 
Today's liturgy gives us an even more delightful response to difficulty, "I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord."
It is a phrase we should recall each time we step from our pews to join the procession to the altar, as we slowly step forward, and as we bow before the Eucharistic Minister who offers the Precious Blood of Jesus. 
"I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord."

1 comment:

  1. Your introduction today is very thought provoking. As a Eucharistic Minister, it is a privilege to pronounce "The Blood of Christ". I try to look into the eyes of person. As I wipe the chalice, I gaze upon the same blood that dripped down His leg. It does cause one to tremble. Can I really drink of this cup? In Rome at the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, there are relics of a little Italian girl, Antonietta Meo. She suffered and died from bone cancer at age 6. She understood redemptive suffering. I would like to run and hide from it. So much to learn.
    On another thought, your introduction also makes me think of the many times I have received from the chalice while carrying a little one, whether child or grandchild. It's so natural to then kiss the head of the little one. I have always felt a special presence in that moment. Nanny marking the forehead of the baby so the Avenging Angel will pass over this little one.


I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

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