It’s all in the bloodstream. That’s a family joke. There wasn’t a one of us (including our parents) who had ever understood one minute of Science class. As we kids cycled through colds and flus and broken bones my mom would read all the directions on the pill bottles, shake her head wisely and say Ah yes. It’s all in the bloodstream. Which, all these years later, still means in family-speak, The world is just way too confusing and scientific, and I’m admitting defeat.
But of course the ancients knew that it really is all in the bloodstream. Blood is the carrier of life, and solemn covenants were sealed by splashing blood on the two parties entering into them. When Moses wanted to show the deadly earnest with which the Israelites promised to keep the Law which they had just received on Mount Sinai, he used the life-force of the sacrificed bulls as a substitute for human blood. We promise to be faithful, God, and we enter this joyful covenant sprinkled in blood, the life of the world.
When Jesus the Bridegroom entered into his eternal marriage contract with us the night before he died he used the same image of blood, but this time it would be his own. This is my blood of the covenant. Taken, blessed, broken, shared—This is my Body. This is my Blood.
We Catholics have endured many difficult years recently. But this this is our Feast. This is Who we are. And once again we enter this joyful covenant. We are one Body, one Body in Christ. And we do not stand alone.
What memories do you have of your First Communion?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).