This feast was instituted only in 1849, but the devotion is as old as Christianity. The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the Sacraments were brought forth through His Blood. The special beauty of this feast is its centering of our attention directly on the Blood of Christ, a short cut to the heart of revelation. In these days we need to think of the Passion of Christ; we do not know how God is going to test us. Devotion to the Precious Blood is a fundamental, sane approach to God. It is hard and painful; it will help us to steel our own hearts against weakness.
INTROIT Apoc. 5:9-10You have redeemed us, O Lord, with Thy Blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us for our God a kingdom.
Ps. 88:2. The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever; my mouth shall proclaim Your truth through all generations.
V. Glory be . . .
O Almighty and Eternal God, You willed that the world should be redeemed and the sins of man atoned for by the shedding of the Blood of Your Only-Begotten Son. May we on this solemn feast pay fitting honor to the Precious Blood that was the price of our salvation; may that Blood defend us against the evils of our present life so that we may enjoy its everlasting fruit in heaven. Through our Lord . . .
EPISTLE Heb. 9:11-15
Brethren: But Christ, being come an high Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hand, that is, not of this creation: Neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL I John 5:5, 7-8
This is He who came in water and in blood, Jesus Christ: not in the water only, but in the water and in the blood.
V. There are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these Three are One. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the Blood; and these three are one.
Alleluia, alleluia! V. John 5:9
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. Alleluia!
GOSPEL John 19:30-35
At that time, Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: “It is consummated.” And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost. Then the Jews (because it was the parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that was a great sabbath day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken: and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came: and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him.
But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON I Cor. 10:16
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the sharing of the Blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord?
May these divine mysteries draw us closer to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. We renew upon Your altar, O Lord of Hosts, the sprinkling of the Blood of Christ which is far more efficacious than the sacrifice offered by Abel. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Heb. 9:28
Christ was offered once to take away the sins of many; the second time with no part in sinHe will appear unto the salvation of those who await Him.
We have been admitted to Your sacred banquet, O Lord, and have joyously refreshed ourselves with the waters from the fountain of our Saviour. May His Blood spring up within us as a saving water for eternal life; who lives and rules with You . . .