Blood and Water

From the side of Jesus on the cross flowed blood and water.

St. John Chrysostom admonishes us to not pass over this aspect of Golgotha without stopping and meditating on it. Blood and water….

Chrysostom said in his Catechesis (my translation of the Italian):

There flowed from his side blood and water (cf. John 19:34). Dear ones, do not pass by this mystery too easily. I have yet another important mystery to explain to you. I said that water and blood are symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist. Now, the Church is born of these two sacraments, from this bath of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit by means of Baptism and the Eucharist. The symbols of  Baptism and the Eucharist flowed out of his side. Thus, from his very side Christ formed the Church, and from the side of Adam was formed Eve….

Similarly, just as God formed the woman from the side of the Adam, so too Christ has given us water and blood from his side to form the Church. And just as the side of Adam was touched by God during Adam’s slumber, so too Christ has given us blood and water during his sleep of death.

Look at the way Christ united himself to his Spouse; look at the food with which he nourishes us. By his blood we are born, with his blood we nourish our lives. Just as a woman feeds her child with her own milk, so too Christ constantly feeds all those he has renewed with his own blood.

Okay, men and women, think of that imagery. The image of Christ and the image of a mother feeding her infant with her own milk.

Here, so many centuries ago, we have a doctor of the Church suggesting a feminine characteristic of God. He is attributing it of course to the Church, the Spouse of Jesus, but there is a closeness between the two images that makes the comparison almost one of two aspects of Jesus himself. Our beloved Pope John Paul I raised many eyes in 1978 when he, in one of his Angelus addresses, suggested God was like a mother in his love for us. Why were we so surprised by Luciani’s  imagery? We have always seen the Church as the earthly Body of Christ, intimately united to him, as a wife to a husband. The two becoming one flesh, inseparable yet distinct. The Church cannot be separated from Jesus her Head anymore than a husband can be separated from his wife or vice versa.

Today is the day our Lord gave his life for our sins. He redeemed us and all of creation from corruption and death. Satan has been definitively defeated. And the Church is given birth, and eternal life.

God loves us with both a paternal and maternal affection. His son Jesus the Christ became a man and continues to be united with us in our humanity even as he has already risen and has taken that redeemed humanity into the arms of God in heaven, where he now sits, with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

It is this Resurrection and Ascension that we are about  the celebrate with great joy.

It is all because of the death of our brother and Lord, Jesus, from whom flowed blood and water. Blood that nourishes us; water that gives us life.


About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Christology, Dogmatic Theology, Prayer and Meditation. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Blood and Water

  1. Lori Pieper says:

    Thanks for this beautiful meditation, Deacon Bob. I have some more about John Paul I’s maternal imagery for God here:

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