2nd Week of Ordinary Time (26th January, 2019)
First Reading: 2 Tim 1:1-8
Gospel: Mk 3:20-21
The body and blood of Christ is the most essential part of the Eucharist we daily celebrate. It is our faith that with the power of the Holy Spirit the bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ. The origin of this concept we know is at the Lord’s supper. When Jesus taking the bread says, “Take this all of you. This is the body which will be given up for you”. Then taking the cup filled with wine, he says, “Take this all of you and drink from it. For this is the chalice of my Blood; The Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me”. We know that when Jesus offered himself in His Body and Blood saying, “Whoever eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood will have eternal life” (Jn 6:54), it led to a lot of controversy between Jesus and Pharisees and much misunderstanding in His divine nature as well. Today we too need proper understanding of these concepts. Although we believe in the transubstantiation of bread in to the Body and wine into the Blood of Christ, proper understanding of the meaning of the Blood of Christ will help us meaningfully participate in it.
The use of the term ‘blood of Christ’ indicates his sacrificial live for us. That He truly bled on the Cross and died for us sinners. Our faith teaches us that the blood of Christ has the power to atone for an infinite number of sins committed by innumerable number people throughout the ages. The origin of the reality of blood of Christ shed for the sins is found in the mosaic Law. The book of Hebrew mentions of it saying, “In fact, law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22). However, we see that shedding of blood of animals done as per the Mosaic law once year year by the priest had limited efficacy. However, it indicated that the effect of eternal forgiveness by the “once for all” sacrifice offered by Jesus on the Cross (Heb 7:27). His sacrifice abolished the need of blood of bulls and goats. So, his shedding of blood on the cross did away with the Old covenant requiring continual sacrifice of animals. Such sacrifice could not have the efficacy of removing sins of people. They only reminded people of sins without being able to take away the sins (Heb 10:15). It is only the blood of the Jesus Christ which removed the anymore necessity of sacrifice (1 Pet 1:19). He obtained eternal redemption for us by His sacrifice on the Cross. what is no longer necessary is the sacrifice of blood but what is ever necessary is that we who are washed by His blood strive to be free from sinful acts by serving Him, glorifying Him and living according to His will. So rightly John says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, as the blood of Jesus, his son cleans us from all sins” (Jn 1:7). Amen.