My children are always funny when they see blood. Nine times out of ten, they run screaming from the room, whether the blood they see is a legitimate bleed, or a small poke on the skin in which the blood barely makes it to the surface of the skin before coagulating. At the rate they are going, I won’t hold my breath in hopes that one of them enters the medical field one day.
Yet, for all their squeamishness when they see blood, especially on themselves, they certainly have a fascination for blood. Driving to school one morning this past year, my five year old cackled in her maniacal, wicked witch way, “Mom, I want to drink blood!”
Upon further discussion and conversation, she mentioned, “But, Mom, you drink blood. When you go to church, you get Jesus’ Blood!” I immediately sighed relief that my blood-averse daughter wasn’t hoping to become a vampire. Rather, she is hoping to participate more fully and actively in the greatest action of love story of all time, through the Eucharist at Mass.
For over a year and a half now, most lay Catholics have had to forgo the Precious Blood of Christ during the Mass. It’s the reality of our times, and since I know receiving the Precious Host means receiving fully Christ, I haven’t thought much about missing His Precious Blood. I didn’t even think my daughter remembered a time in which others around her would partake of both the Precious Host and Precious Blood.
And yet, over a year and a half since I last received the Precious Blood, the faith of a little child reminds me that there is something very extraordinary about the Mass – that Christ longs to be longed for.
Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is quoted as saying, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.” Christ is present there at Mass, simply waiting to shower each of us with His love and His Mercy.
To be Catholic is to embrace Christ – not only the young Christ we meet in the manger at Christmas, but also the Man Whose Precious Body hung on the Cross with blood and water pouring forth.
Embracing Christ challenges us to not only seek Him, but also find Him, both in the world around us, as well as in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
To be Catholic is to remember the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (para. 1365), “In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he ‘poured out for the forgiveness of sins.’” It is also a call to live as though those words mean something in our lives.
For many, the pandemic has been a period of introspection and reflection. While it seemed forced upon us, the pandemic gave each of us an opportunity to return Christ’s longing for us with our own longing for Him.
When Christ’s Precious Blood poured forth from His side, He was extending Himself to us, in order that through His sacrifice, we would be saved.
To know this reality of love is life-changing, but only if we are open to being changed.
As the wheels of this world turn again, and knowing some places are just now beginning to open back up, the question to ask isn’t about Christ’s role in our salvation history.
Rather, it’s whether or not we are prepared to be radically changed so as to play our own role in salvation history?
Are we ready to open ourselves to change, and to leave a lasting impact of faith, hope, and love in the world around us?
When we approach Christ in the Eucharist, are we ready to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity?
Are we ready to be cleansed by His Precious Blood, even if we are unable to receive it in the chalice?
Like my five year old, yearning for a more active participation at Mass, and not wanting to miss out, I pray that each of us has the courage and desire to yearn for Christ, and to ultimately be transformed by Christ’s actions on the Cross.
In a few years’ time, I also hope we all look back on this past year and a half and recognize how God’s Love was so strong that it was continuing to guide us through this period.
Christ’s Blood and Water poured forth so that we have the opportunity of everlasting life.
When everything is said and done, and you look back on the time of pandemic, what will be stopping you from being transformed by Christ’s sacrifice in your life?