Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ (SSPX)
For us to appreciate the spiritual value and spirituality of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, it is very important for us to have an understanding of blood and blood sacrifice in the Bible. Blood is very precious from the instructions of God to his elected people of Israel and he warned them never to spill blood (Gen. 9:5). Also he taught them that the value of life is founded on blood (Gen. 9:6). So the commandment, "Thou shall not kill" emphases the sacredness of blood in Old Testament era.
The understanding of blood being sacred and the foundation element for life implies that it is the preferred material for sacrifice in many ancient societies in the world. Israel had its cultic sacrifices of blood recorded in the Books of Exodus and Leviticus and the most celebrated sacrifice is that recorded for the great Passover.
The cult of blood sacrifices of bulls and rams/goats in pre-Christian era in Israel is well noted also in the Books of Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Letter to the Hebrews offers us, notably the effects and efficacy of these cultic blood sacrifices before and during the Temple era. "When Christ entered into the sanctuary once and for all, he did not take with him the blood of goats and Bulls but his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption ... For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant. Now that a death has taken place to redeem the sins committed under the first covenant, those who have been called to the everlasting inheritance may receive the promise" (Heb. 9:12; 15).
The Letter to the Hebrews has not linked the blood sacrifices to the levitical priesthood. So to speak, the bulls and rams/goats were provided for the sacrifices in the Temple and the Levites were to immolate the bulls and rams/goats on the sacred altars as prescribed in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Exodus and Leviticus.
In dealing with the issue of the "new Passover" established by Jesus Christ at the first supper of the Lord, Eucharistic Preface V of Easter, par. 2 says, "By the oblation of his Body, he brought the sacrifices of old to fulfillment in the reality of the Cross and, by commending himself to you for our salvation, showed himself the Priest, the Altar, and the Lamb of sacrifice." This is very significant for our understanding of the the Precious Blood of Jesus in this article.
It is important to note that in the old Passover sacrifices, we have the people of the sacrifices with the levitical priests, the lambs provided for the sacrifices and the installed altars of sacrifices in the temple, very different but coming together only at the moment of the blood sacrifices repeatedly and, without much effect to take away sin in the life of the people. We better understand this in the Preface I, par. 3, of the Most Holy Eucharist states, "As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us, we are made strong, and, as we drink his Blood that was poured out for us, we are washed clean." Also, Eucharistic preface I for Easter, par . 2 emphasizes this concept in the following expression, "For he is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world, by dying he has destroyed our death and by rising, restored our life."
However, in the new Passover instituted by Jesus Christ, the holy high priesthood was reestablished in him alone, he is the only lamb of the sacrifice and he is the only altar of the sacrifice. What does this mean in simple explanation? In Jesus Christ alone and on him alone is the acceptable sacrifice to take away sin in the life of humanity. This is well expressed in the Eucharistic Preface II, Par. 2, "For at the Last Supper with his Apostles, establishing for the ages to come the saving memorial of the Cross, he offered himself to you as the unblemished Lamb, the acceptable gift of perfect praise."
The letter to the Hebrews states the above fact as, the old sacrifices of bulls and rams not able to effect the desired need to take away sin in the life of the people once and for all. Herein lies the designation of the blood of Christ as PRECIOUS, not as it were from bulls and rams unable to take away sin in the world.
The blood of the Lamb
John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. In this proclamation, we have to recognize that Jesus is the LAMB selected from the sheepfold of God's humanity to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ himself also declared that he lays down his life for many in fulfillment of the will of the Father.
This is very important because he is very much aware he is the sacrificial lamb indeed. To be the lamb of sacrifice means this to him, the shedding of his blood to seal a new covenant between God and his people. In this way, he established a new people, royal priesthood and a holy people to proclaim everywhere the works of God.
Having said this it is very important not to escape asking the question, how did Jesus provide the PRECIOUS BLOOD for the only acceptable sacrifice? Jesus provided his blood in two moments: the first moment was at his institution of the Holy Eucharist with the words, "Take and drink from it...." and, the second moment was at his crucifixion when one of the soldiers took a spear and pierced through to his heart and water and blood flowed out. It's there important to note the gracious twofold moments that underlined the spiritual and the physical effects, namely the wine turned into the sacred blood for the forgiveness of sins and the physical shedding of same blood on the cross.
The Roman canon, Eucharistic prayer 1, says it very clearly as, "In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands..." The chalice is precious because it contains that which is precious, the precious blood of Jesus Christ!
The effects of the twofold moments of the Precious blood of Christ is revealed to John and proclaimed as the blood of the lamb in which the elected have washed themselves clean. For this reason it is only the Precious blood of Jesus Christ that has a cleansing effect to take away sin.
The Precious Blood of Jesus Christ is shed and sealed in the Eucharistic sacrifices. In this sacrifice Jesus prayed and thanked the Father and offered them the chalice that contained his precious blood with these words, "Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me."
Jesus continuously sheds his blood at every moment the Holy Eucharist is celebrated and our sins cleansed when we have prepared ourselves well in Mass and received Him. May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it. " Amen