Monday, June 8, 2015

The Holy Sacrifice

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

“Ito ang aking dugo ng tipan, and dugong mabubuhos dahil sa marami,” (This is my blood of the covenant which will be shed for many) says the Lord. The reading for the feast of Corpus et Sanguis Christi this year gives more emphasis on the Blood of the Lord Jesus which was shed for the forgiveness of sins. By consecrating the wine into his blood of the Covenant, the Lord Jesus brings us back to Mount Sinai where Moses offered a sacrifice of young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord (Sila ay inutusan niyang pumatay ng mga hayop na gagamiting handog sa pakikipagtipan sa Panginoon). Moses splashed half of the blood on the altar and when the people pledged obedience to the covenant, he sprinkled the other half of the blood on the people as he said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you…” This was how the covenant between God and his people was sealed. If today, parties enter into an agreement by signing a contract, God and his people entered into an agreement or covenant by the sprinkling of blood. Blood, being the conduit of a living creature’s life, is sacred. It has consecratory power. It seals a relationship. It binds persons into a relationship.

In order for blood to be obtained, a victim has to die in a sacrifice. In the case of the covenant on Mount Sinai, the victims were bulls. At the last supper, the victim was Christ. In any religion, the sacrifice was always deemed as the highest form of worship. It was so because it was the costliest…it involved the death of a victim which was slaughtered to proclaim the sovereignty of the deity over life itself. For the Israelites, animals were suitable victims. For other religions, humans were offered. But for us, we offer to God his beloved Son Jesus: “Christ entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” (Minsan lamang pumasok si Kristo sa Dakong Kabanal banalan, at iyo’y sapat na. Hindi dugo ng mga kambing at bisirong baka ang kanyang dalang handog, kundi ang sariling dugo, sa ikapagpapatawad ng mga kasalanan natin.) Thus, we should remember that the Mass is not simply a meal or a banquet. It is a sacrificial meal wherein the Body and Blood of Jesus is offered to the Father. Thus, the Mass is the highest form of worship not only for us Catholics, but for the whole world. We say this because the victim offered at Mass is not just any animal or human being. The Victim offered is Christ himself. He is the Salutaris Hostia, the Saving Victim, the one who dies in order to obtain the forgiveness of our sins: “Sa pamamagitan ng walang hanggang Espiritu ay inialay niya sa Diyos ang kanyang sarili na walang kapintasan. Ang kanyang dugo ang lumilinis sa ating puso’t isip upang talikdan na natin ang mga gawang walang kabuluhan at paglingkuran natin ang Diyos na buhay.”

We should always be aware of what transpires at the altar during the Mass. What we have in the Eucharist is more than just a banquet that celebrates unity. What we have here is a real sacrifice, a real offering of the Lamb who once was slain and now who lives for ever. “On the Altar of the Cross He offered up His Body to God the Father as a sacrifice for our reconciliation He shed His Blood as the price whereby He redeems us from wretchedness and bondage, and the washing whereby He cleanses us from all sin. And for a noble and abiding memorial of that so great work of His goodness, He has left unto His faithful ones the Same His very Body for Meat, and the Same His very Blood for Drink, to be fed upon under the appearance of bread and wine.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, 57th Opuscula.) Let us reverently enter into the presence of God. Let us partake of this sacrifice by keeping in mind that what we eat and drink is the One, who out of love for us, died on the Cross to atone for our sins.

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 

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