Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – On Receiving from the Cup

Receiving from the ChaliceReceiving from the cup, taking in the Body and Blood of Christ, is a mixed gesture today. Blood signifies both life and death. And who in their right mind wants death? Give me life, indeed!

The consecrated wine, the Body and Blood of Christ (though the ministers say, “Blood of Christ”) is Life Himself. The covenant in his blood is a covenant in life. Moses sprinkling blood on the people made them part of a people committed to Life by doing the commands of God.

The Blood of Christ signifies death in several ways. We seem to be completely wary of spilled blood since it could contain blood-borne pathogens (HIV/AIDS) which could kill us. Spilled blood is worse when it’s mine!!! Tourniquet! Don’t let me die!

Violence spills blood. Anger, hatred, passion, accidental shootings, school shootings, and so on spill blood. Blood signifies the lack of safety and security in our lives which we deny pretty much at every turn.

[Current germaphobic responses to holding hands, use of Purel, fear of immigrants, the poor, ticks, and avian flu – point to the perceived fear of contacting anyone and anything that could infect me. I want my life!]

And Jesus’ blood was spilled. How could this be salvific?

Sebastian Moore’s sense of salvation looks something like this:

  1. Sin = “To hell with everyone and everything but me!” My fundamental self-absorption sets me in aggressive (or passive-aggressive) relationship to everything and everyone who opposes my will.
  2. Jesus preached a new way. He intruded on the “way things have to be done” as held by the scribes, Pharisees, chief priests, and elders. He intruded on the disciples (the Twelve) and the way they wanted to do things (“sell what you have and give to the poor then come follow me”).
  3. The SPCP&E reacted aggressively and put him to death as a scapegoat (“better for one to die for the people than the nation perish”) The disciples reacted passive-aggressively by betraying him and fleeing.
  4. Here’s Sebastian’s link: What we dislike in ourselves, we dislike in others. What we hate in ourselves, we hate in others. What we attack in ourselves, we attack in others. What we crucify in ourselves, we crucify in others. As we (figuratively or literally) spill our own blood out of hatred, so we spill the blood of those we hate. 
  5. Receiving the Blood of Christ testifies to BOTH our complicity in Christ’s death AND his loving acceptance of us as we are.
  6. Only love received transforms us. Love received at our worst.


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