Reflection: Santisimo Sangre, celebrating the ultimate 'gift of blood'
"Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it,
and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body,
which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
'This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which will be shed for you.'"
Luke 22: 19-20
Two important celebrations, both extolling the "gift of blood," happened on the same day this year: "World Blood Donor Day" and the "Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ" (Santísimo Cuerpo y Sangre de Cristo).
The World Health Organization (WHO) leads the celebration of World Blood Donor Day every June 14.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) on a different day each year. It is a movable religious feast celebrated two weeks after Pentecost Sunday (May 31 this year).
It is very rare for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and World Blood Donor Day to fall on the same day. This inspires us to reflect on the "gift of blood."
According to the WHO, "the need for safe blood is universal. Safe blood is critical both for treatments and urgent interventions."
A blood transfusion can save the lives of patients undergoing surgery; people suffering from critical ailments, and those wounded during serious emergencies.
Somehow, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a celebration of the "Ultimate Gift of Blood."
To save us from sin and death, the Lord Jesus gave up not only His Blood, but also His Body, His very life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." -- John 3:16
Limited access to safe blood
Sadly, WHO noted that access to safe blood is "still a privilege of the few."
"Most low- and middle-income countries struggle to make safe blood available because donations are low and equipment to test blood is scarce," WHO said.
Similarly, at the moment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ, is also limited to a few.
Around the world, many Catholic churches had to be closed to the public to prevent the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
This is understandable as so many people have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
Thankfully, despite the pandemic, many churches are slowly opening their doors to the public again while complying with health standards.
It is our fervent hope that a cure would soon be found for COVID-19. May God have mercy on us all.
A Prayer for the Sick
Lord God, You know everything.
You know that we are suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please have mercy on us all, especially on those who are sick,
those who have died due to COVID-19,
those who have lost their loved ones,
those who lost their jobs or businesses,
those who are depressed,
and all people who are hurting
because of this unusual situation.
We entrust ourselves to Your love and mercy.
Please embrace us, heal us, and forgive us.
We love You and we ask all these
in the Name of Your dearly beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer by Veronica Pulumbarit