Blood sacrifice

Published February 15, 2019, 12:13 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ
Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

When God chose Abram as His chosen servant, salvation consisted in being a child of Abraham. It was necessary for salvation to be a child of Abraham, the chosen people.  It was necessary that one have the blood of Abraham in his veins.  Salvation was for the Jewish people, the seed and blood of Abraham until the promised Messiah came. During Old Testament times, adoration of God included the sacrifice of animals that were important to the lives of human beings.  Cattle and sheep and goats were sacrificed to God.  Their blood was poured and the body cooked or fully charred as sin offering. Blood was sacred because blood was the symbol of life. Blood and life were synonymous.  Therefore in the Old Testament the prohibition of eating blood.

The most important feast of the Jews was the Passover or the commemoration of the time when the Jewish people were led by Moses out of Egypt or the place where they were slaves of the Egyptians. The Passover was their solemn feast. Our Lord in the Last Supper celebrated the Passover for the last time. In that feast, He changed the feast from the offering of blood of animals into the offering of His own blood as the sacrifice.  There was a continuation of the Passover feast on Holy Thursday to the offering of His blood and life on Good Friday on the Cross.  In this sacrifice he was the lamb that was offered to the Father and He was also the Priest making the offering for the remission of our sins. This was the end of the offering of the blood of bulls. Here the new offering was the Blood of Jesus. And He enjoined us to repeat this offering of His Blood.  He cautioned that He who did not drink his Blood and eat His Flesh would have no share with Him in His Kingdom.

His Jewish hearers could not accept this and they went away. And when Our Lord also asked His Apostles if they would also leave Him, Peter could only say that there was no one else to whom they could go. Drinking His Blood and eating His Flesh was what Our Lord wanted. This was not something the Jews could understand at once since it was against their norms. But Jesus insisted that that was what He wanted. No more blood of bulls as offering but the offering His own Blood.  And this is what we do in the Mass, every day we celebrate it. His promise was if we drink His Blood and eat His Flesh, we would be with Him in paradise. He took bread and broke it and asked us to do this in remembrance of Him. As a priest there is nothing that humbles him more than that he takes the place of Jesus when he says the words of Consecration. He is always unworthy but that is what Jesus wanted to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus in continuation of the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, two thousand years ago.

The offering of blood in the Old Testament was the offering of their lives to the Father in heaven. In the New Testament, it is the offering of the blood of Jesus.  Just as in the Old Testament the sacrifice was eaten, so too the bread turned into the Body of Jesus is broken and eaten and His Blood drank. The Passover sacrifice has now been transformed into the Mass for the salvation not only of the Jewish people but for all men and women of the world. The sacrifice is still of blood but now it no longer the blood of bulls but the Blood of Jesus which he offered for the forgiveness of our sins and the pouring of His grace on all who would accept Him. Now membership in the community of heaven is no longer the blood of Abraham but by water and the Holy Spirit in Baptism and the Sacrifice is in the Mass where we offer the blood and flesh of Jesus. The Jews could not accept this. However, this is our faith because Jesus said so. <[email protected]>