And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: “This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words” (Exodus 24:8)
And the whole people answering, said: “His blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matthew 27:25).
After Moses had read the Commandments that he had received on Mt. Sinai to the Israelites, they all acclaimed that they would do everything that God desired. In order to ratify this covenant, Moses sacrificed calves to the Lord, and poured their blood into a large basin. Taking this blood, he sprinkled the people with it, telling the people that “This is the blood of the covenant…” The rest of the Old Testament, basically, beginning right in the next few verses, is the story of how that Covenant was broken over and over through the Israelites’ disobedience and sin—until finally, God promised to make a new Covenant.
It’s interesting that Jesus, who inaugurates the New Covenant, is only ever recorded as using the word “Covenant” one time in the Gospels: “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins” (Matt 26:28; cf. Mk 14:24, Lk 22:20). At the Last Supper, when Jesus institutes the Eucharist, He uses the same phrase as Moses did above. Through His sacrificial death, Jesus creates the New Covenant in His own blood, rather than the blood of animals. When His side was pierced, and blood and water flowed out, mystically, His blood infused the Church’s sacraments with their saving power. It washes away our sins in baptism, it continues to apply its forgiving powers in Confession, and most directly, it strengthens us and sanctifies us in the Eucharist.
Pope St. John XXIII wrote in Apostolic Letter, On Promoting Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man’s Blood—just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out that great wide wound in his side which symbolises the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church’s sacraments. Such surpassing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.
When Jesus was on trial, the Jews claimed responsibility for His death after Pilate washed his hands and declared himself innocent of shedding Jesus’ blood. They called down that blood upon themselves and their children, essentially invoking a curse on themselves for their bloodshed. And yet, ironically, we too should call down that same Precious Blood upon ourselves, for His shed blood is exactly what cleanses us from our sins.
Today is Canada Day, and it is the first day of the month that the Church devotes to the adoration of the Precious Blood. Let’s make the effort to invoke the Precious Blood upon our nation, in reparation for the many ways in which we have offended God—especially in the shedding of innocent blood through unrestricted abortion, among many other crimes. Let us pray the Litany of the Precious Blood each day of July for the conversion of our nation.
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