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Blood Consumption and Jesus


From creation until the Great Flood, humans and animals were vegetarians (Gen 1:29-30). God changed the rule after the flood, allowing people to eat meat and vegetables (Gen 9:3). However, God restricted them, saying, “Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat” (Gen 9:4). God told the Israelites, “For the blood of every creature contains its life and, therefore, I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of all creatures is within its blood; whoever eats it shall be ostracized” (Lev 17:14). Priests offered the blood of the sacrificed animals to God in the Temple as a ransom for the lives of the Israelites.

Since the Torah prohibited the consumption of blood, the Israelites felt it scandalous when Jesus asked them to drink his blood. But Jesus had a novel concept when he offered his blood to drink. Through his precious blood, Jesus offers his life to us humans. So, when we drink the blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, he makes his dwelling within us as the temple of God.

During the first Passover in Egypt, the Israelites applied the blood of the Passover lamb to the lintel and two doorposts (Ex 12:22). In the New Testament, Jesus applied his blood on the cross, which is the door or ladder to Heaven.

Israelites used blood to make a covenant. At Mount Sinai, when God made a covenant with the Israelites, “Moses then took the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying, ‘Here is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words’” (Ex 24:8). At the Last Supper, Jesus took the cup and said, “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:27-28). So, when we partake of the cup of Jesus during Mass, we are renewing our covenant with him.

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