To Give Blood
Have you given blood lately? For what purpose? For diagnosis of medical conditions? As life-giving or life-saving donations to those in need? Blood, sweat, and tears—the ultimate giving to something we are passionate about?
On this Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Sunday, we read all about blood. The recognition of blood as sacred, as a symbol of life, is as old as humanity. Moses sealed the covenant with a blood ritual at the altar and in the sprinkling of the people with blood. This was an interplay between word and action. When we participate in the Eucharist, we hear “This is my blood of the covenant, which we will be shed for many.”
Jesus gave the cup to his disciples at the establishment of the Eucharist. As we continue that action in our liturgy, we are asking for the gift of life—life connected to Jesus, genuine closeness, a covenant of love, of presence, and of commitment. This is a bond of solidarity sealed with love. We become the body (and blood) of Christ! See what you are, become what you eat! We become Christ’s presence to God’s people!
The writings of St. Thomas Aquinas inspired this song by Curtis Stephan, a composer who juxtaposes new lyrics with the Latin lyrics many of us grew up with in Catholicism.
“Bread of Angels” by Curtis Stephan
Bread of angels, we receive you; with us now abide. Precious Jesus, manna of ages, with us now reside.
Panis angélicus fit panis hóminum, Dat panis cáelicus figúris términum.
Cup of Mercy overflowing, fill us with your grace; wine of passion, O Son begotten, we flee to your embrace.
O res mirábilis mandúcat Dóminum, Pauper, Pauper, servus, et húmilis.
Word incarnate, dwell within us; pierce our hardened hearts. Tender Jesus, Love so gentle, never let us part.
Te, trina Déitas únaque, póscimus, Sic nos tu vísita, sicut te cólimus.
Though unworthy, we receive you, sacrament divine. Bread of angels, accept our praises, let your glory shine! Per tuas sémitas duc nos quo téndimus, lucem, Ad lucem quam inhábitas.