Sunday, July 31, 2005
The Piercing of His Side--Part Seven of the Seven Bloodsheddings of Christ  

The month of July is set aside for special devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus. One of the devotions associated with the Precious Blood, is a meditation on the seven references in Scripture to the shedding of Christ's blood. In this seventh installment, I would like to reflect on the Piercing of His Side.
But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out Blood and water. (John 19:34)
St. John records the soldiers' piercing of our Lord's side to show that He was truly dead. In fact, he also wants to make it clear that God had really taken on flesh which could die, be pierced, and issue forth water and blood. This was no phantasm, this was truly a man who was capable of losing blood and dying. In other words, this passage underscores the reality of the Incarnation. God has taken on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. His body could die, and indeed it did as He offered it up as the perfect sacrifice for sins.

The early Church Fathers understood the water and the blood to represent the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. Both flow from the pierced heart of Christ. By baptism, we are reborn and become members of the body of Christ. Through the reception of the Eucharist, we are drawn closer to the heart of Christ. Indeed through proper reception of the Eucharist, we receive the food of Christ in order that, unlike regular food which becomes part of us, we are more closely transformed to the One whom we receive.

The sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist also represent the Church. At this moment when Christ has died, the Church is born through the pouring forth of the water and the blood which come from the heart of Christ. There are distinct parallels between the birth of the Church at the piercing of the side of Christ and the creation of Eve by God. Eve comes from Adam. The Church comes from the second Adam. Adam was made to fall into a deep sleep. Jesus "sleeps" the sleep of death after laying down His life. Adam's side must be opened up to get a rib which is used to create Eve. The soldier's lance opens the side of Christ and pierces His heart which results in the outpouring of water and blood. Eve is Adam's bride. The Church is the Bride of Christ.

In His mercy, God sent His Son to die for our sins. Even in His death, He continues to create and to give. Through the piercing of His side is born the Church represented by the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist.

Previous Posts:

The Circumcision

The Agony in the Garden

The Scourging at the Pillar

The Crowning with Thorns

The Carrying of the Cross

The Crucifixion

Posted by David at 3:00 AM  |  Comments (5)  | 

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