Thursday, January 5, 2012

Poured Out

“Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be poured out for you.’” Luke 22: 19-20

If you are Catholic then you know that recently we had a new translation of the Roman Missal introduced at all of the Masses in the English-speaking world. One of the most significant changes in the translation occurs during the consecration. Instead of saying the word “shed” for what Christ will do for us with His blood, we now use the more accurately translated words “poured out”. This is significant and worthy of our reflection.

Anyone can shed their blood, right? I just had to put a band-aid on one of my sons this morning where he shed his blood from his toe after his younger brother pushed him down during an argument. All of us have had knicks, cuts, scrapes, etc that caused us to bleed. And while these were not necessarily voluntary, they were times of shedding blood. Some of us have even voluntarily shed out blood to donate it to the blood bank or the Red Cross to help someone else in need—most of the times a complete stranger. But have we “poured out” our blood for another?

If we imagine Jesus on the cross merely shedding His blood for us, the image seems somehow incomplete in my mind, as if somehow He were being forced against His will and His power to endure this action against Him. And yet, Jesus while fully human was and is also fully God. And in this mysterious union He willingly laid down His life for us. It was not an action forced upon Him but an act of His will, both human and divine to pro-actively pour out His entire self, all of His Body and all of His blood in order to show us how much He loves us; in order to free us from the chains of sin and eternal death. Jesus was not merely a passive victim on the cross; He was actively offering Himself for us, holding nothing back and sparing not even one single drop of His precious Blood to save us. When the soldier pierced His side, the Blood and water poured out from His Sacred Heart washing away our sins and cleansing us from our iniquities.

He shed His Blood during the scourging, but on the cross He poured it forth for our salvation. And in the Eucharist, at every Mass, He continues to empty Himself for us in an unbloody manner, but all the same completely offering Himself to the Father on our behalf just as He did at Calvary. At that moment in the Mass the veil between heaven and earth is lifted and the sacrifice of the cross is made present to us and the Blood of Christ is poured out into our bodies as we receive Him in this Blessed Sacrament. May we seek to empty ourselves for Him and for others in imitation of our Lord.

Dear Jesus, thank You for pouring out Your Blood for me. Through the grace of Your complete sacrifice, may I offer myself more completely to You and to others each day. Amen.

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