Every day at Mass we hear the priest saying the words of consecration over the chalice, but we seldom stop to consider those words. So, let’s see their meaning.
The priest says, “This is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant.”
That reference to the New Covenant should make us consider the part played by blood in the old covenant that we read about in Chapter Twenty-Four of Exodus.
There, Moses gathered the whole people before Mt. Sinai and God’s altar. He was asking the people if they would obey the commandments, and they agree to obey each.
(That was similar to what happens in the marriage covenant when the parties agree to love and honor each other. The Mass follows Jesus who said this is the commandment of my covenant, that you love one another.)
The part of that Sinai covenant that was most similar to our Mass was that Moses had young men slaughter steers, then come out carrying the blood in brass bowls.
Now, the Jews believed that blood was life itself. So, when Moses had the young men going through the crowd, sprinkling blood on ever person, they felt that they were all united as members of the same family. What is more, those young men spilled the last of the blood on God’s altar, making them all one family with him.
The Mass is a covenant ceremony in which the lifeblood of Jesus makes us all one family with each other and with God.