Sacred Scripture makes several references to the cleansing nature of blood.
‘Let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our hearts sprinkled [with blood] and free from any trace of bad conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’ (Hebrews 10:22).
‘we have a share in one another’s life, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7).
He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood’ (Revelation 1:5).
Now I understand that at the Last Supper, Jesus gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink and that we commemorate this great sacrifice at every Mass, but until I heard a priest speak at a penitential service last night, I had never considered just how God intermingled his blood with that of his creatures from the moment of the Incarnation.
When Mary gave her fiat to the angel Gabriel, she fell pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word became flesh. The baby in Mary’s womb was inextricably linked through the placenta. Here, the blood of Jesus mingled with that of Mary – the waste products from the baby flowed out through Mary and all the minerals, oxygen and everything else needed to support life flowed from Mary into Jesus. God’s blood mixed with that of his creation from the moment of conception, prefiguring the source and summit of all Christian faith we share in the Eucharist (Lumen Gentium 11; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324).
Think about that for a moment.
Those outside the Catholic faith often wonder why we Catholics pay so much attention to Mary. The wrath of God was subdued through Mary who gave life to our Saviour, in turn bringing eternal life to his creation. Surely it is natural then for us to turn to Mary as intercessor, to hold her in the highest esteem, to venerate her.
The blood in our own bodies has two jobs, one to remove all the toxins and waste, the other to bring life-giving oxygen and nutrients to every single cell. Blood cleanses and nurtures.
The Precious Blood of Jesus does the same spiritually. It cleanses our souls of all stain of sin and provides the nourishment required to bring us to ever-lasting life.