Imagine the shock of the Jews, who knew their Scripture, when they heard Jesus say…

“Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”  Genesis 9:4

From the very beginning, when God instructed humanity about our stewardship rights and responsibilities, the consumption of blood was forbidden by divine decree.  Later, in the liturgical laws lain down by God, the edict is repeated in the context of offering sacrifice.

“If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.  Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.  Any man also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust.

“For the life of every creature is the blood of it; therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.”   Leviticus 17:10-14

Imagine the shock of the Jews, who knew their Scripture, especially about sacrifice, when they heard Jesus say:

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.    John 6:52-57

Remember that, “life is in the blood”?

LIFE is in His Blood.

July is the month in which we give special honor to the Most Precious Blood, starting with Its feast on 1 July.

With each Holy Communion you receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.  Whether under one species, just the Host, or by both, you receive the “life” that’s in the Blood, a singular drop of which is the greater in worth than the vastness of the cosmos and all that is in it.




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Michael says:

    This is good. Most people, when talking to those who say Jesus was only speaking symbolically in Jn 6, will perhaps focus on the underlying Greek of Jesus’ words regarding eating – phago (to eat) early in the discourse to trogon (to gnax, crunch, chew) later in the discourse. They will probably also point to Paul’s letters where he writes it’s sinful to eat the Lord’s body unworthily. Reminding us how blood is life and connecting it to the Old Testament is yet another, excellent way to evangelize those who don’t see the light.

  2. bigtex says:

    Which makes it all the more odd that some ultra-Orthodox Jews practice metzitzah b’peh. As the saying goes, what the Torah prohibits the Talmud allows.

  3. Adeodata says:

    “Life is in the blood” counters those who use the Bible to purport that unborn babies are not alive until they draw their first breath.

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