We are all aware that at the Last Supper Jesus took a cup of wine, calling it his blood. However, we tend to pass over the fact that Mathew, Mark and Luke recalled Jesus designating it as the blood of the New Covenant. In saying that, Jesus was calling up our recollection of the Old Covenant, and of the part blood played in it.
In every contract the parties exchange things of value. Now, a covenant is also a contract, but a special one, in that what the parties give is their very selves. In the Old Covenant the Lord said, “You will be my people, and I will be your God” In marriage, (the other covenant with which we are familiar,) the priest asks, ”Have you come here freely, without reservations to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”.
Let’s look at a different aspect of this. Now, while we see a persons as being alive when they have “the breath of life,” the ancient Jews considered us to be alive when we have, “the blood of life.”
In Chapter Twenty-four of Exodus, Moses supplied a dozen young men with brass bowls of the blood of oxen: and he had them walking, and sprinkling blood, all through the thousands of Israelites assembled before Mount Sinai. But when the blood was all but gone from the bowls, the young men poured the last of it onto God’s altar. By sharing in that living blood, they became one people with each other and with God.
Another essential part of the people becoming one with God had them accepting God’s commandments. So, while the young men with the bowls of blood were sprinkling the people, Moses was one by one calling out the Ten Commandments, with the people searing to keep each of them.
Today’s Gospel came as Jesus was giving us the blood of the New Covenant, and to receive it worthily we promise to obey, not the old Ten Commandments, but his special commandment of loving each other as he has loved us.