Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord.
Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Blood tests are my least favorite part of visiting my doctor, but the resulting numbers give a comforting sense of scientific clarity. How different, and more primal, was blood in the lives of the Old Testament people who killed lambs and splashed their blood on stone altars as a sign of their everlasting covenant, their bond with Yahweh.
Paul reminds us that Jesus sacrificed his own life and became the Lamb whose death sealed a new covenant. At Mass, we renew that sacrifice so often that its impact fades, but we still value sacrifice. I think of immigrant parents who “kill” themselves working multiple minimum-wage jobs so their children can have a future.
If we link all that we do with the one sacrifice of Jesus, we remember him and honor the bond he won for us at such a high price.
Dare I face the implications of his sacrifice?
—Fr. Tom Rochford, S.J. is moving to Denver where he will serve as chaplain and artist-in-residence at Regis Jesuit High School. He is an artist (primarily oil painting), photographer and videographer.
Life-giving Jesus, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your body and blood.
Help us to offer our Father in heaven hearts of undivided love. May we offer to our brothers and sisters lives poured out in loving service of that Kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, our God forever and always. Amen.