Blood is thicker than water
The proverb’ Blood is thicker than water is a profound and true one. Yet not necessarily for reasons, we might first think. Many understand the age-old-adage to be acknowledging that family ties run far deeper (or in theory should) than other relationships one can have. The truth, however, is that over time the meaning of this saying morphed and mutated. Perhaps because the original quote used the word ‘covenant’,; not so easily rolling off the tongue!
In fact, Blood in the original quote didn’t refer to familial ties at all! Rather, they ‘watermarked the family connection. Water referenced the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in the womb. On the other hand, the image of Blood preferred not too familiar ties but to a covenant. The original proverb, therefore, rang out: “The blood of the Covenant is thicker (even) than the water of the womb.”
On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ), we ask… what is the Eucharist? We know it is not a sign, symbol, or just a ‘reminder’. Rather, the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of Jesus. The very Body and Blood of God.
At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke words which now echo over every altar around the world: “This is my Body, given for you.” Followed by words no less strange: “This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, poured out for you and all…”
It is this Blood that we drink and this Body which we eat – that creates the greatest bond between Creature and Creator. Recognizing this, we see that the Eucharist is not just some ‘optional extra’; an incidental to the Christian Life. On the contrary, the Eucharist is our Identity and Reason for being Catholics. It is the relationship of God who comes close. There is no other!
We often think of family relationships as the closest and most intimate ones. Yet not even these relationships come close to the relationship God offers at the Table of the Eucharist. Here we encounter a God who loves so much that He deigns to feed us with His very flesh; a flesh so agonizingly suffered in and given up that we might have Life.
In the Garden, Adam and Eve try to snatch Life for themselves. But in the Eucharist, God offers divine Life as a gift – something which can never be stolen nor substituted.
Today, we can sadly hear –even from Christians– the popular slogan: ‘I’m spiritual, not religious.’ Yet what does that mean? I don’t need the Church? Her ritual, Her Sacraments? It means that “I don’t need the Son of God. His memory and model are enough.” “I don’t need the Eucharist…” “I don’t need to eat His flesh nor drink His Blood.”
Our relationship with God, however, is not merely spiritual. It’s physical too, which is the greatest truth of all. God desires an intimate, physical, Life-Giving covenant between the Human and the Divine.
On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, God nourishes and reminds us not only of his extraordinary love for us but of how close that love deigns to come.
As you receive Jesus into your hands and into your body, pause… and be not afraid to be truly astounded. You hold in your hands the God who made everything, and as a mother feeds her child, so with his own Body and Blood, He feeds you.
Suffice to say, Jesus promised His disciples He would be with them always, even to the end of the age (Matt 28:20). In the Eucharist, Jesus fulfils this Promise, not symbolically, but literally. In this Sacrament God lays Himself at your feet and the door of the Human heart.
Indeed, ‘Blood is thicker than water. And through this Blood we are bound to God and He to us; in a bond that can never be broken, in a Covenant that will forever endure.
Wishing you a Blessed Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.