[quote=micas]you nailed it symbolism. We are saved by His blood! Not by drinking His blood. Jesus would have broken the law if He was teaching the Jewish people to literaly drink blood.See Leviticus 17:10-14. And He then would not be able to atone for the sin of the world by shedding His blood. Eating and drinking are used as contrast to coming and believing. See John 6:35
The early Christian community unanimously accepted and believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist. Read the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was a disciple of the John the Apostle (the very author of the Bread of Life discourse): “I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3).
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (*Letter to the Smyrnaeans *6:2–7:1).
These were written somewhere around 110 (maybe 108) AD, not long after John’s Gospel was completed, and that’s according to a conservative date, I might add.
“We call this food Eucharist… [N]ot as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66).
This was still in the mid-second century, around 151 AD.
And St. Paul readily affirmed his own faith in this most holy Mystery: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
Old Covenant restrictions regarding the consumption of blood were logical considering the prevalent idea at that time: That the life of a creature is contained in its blood. (The Jewish people have a high reverence for the lifeblood, and likewise Jehovah’s Witnesses also take this very much to heart: hence why they refuse, as a matter of conviction, blood transfusions.) The author of Hebrews is adament in asserting that no sacrifice aside from that of Our Lord’s–his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity–is effective for the salvation of souls. So it is natural that the Christian refuse to partake of this blood (especially when offered to idols, as the Council of Jerusalem’s main focus was–recall–the entrance of the Gentiles, former pagans, into the new Christian religion which, at that time, was primarily made up of pious Jews). Rather, it is the divine life of Christ that we should be desirous for! His lifeblood, his whole person (as made truly Present in the Eucharist), is the source of our own interior life.
Something to think on…
Also, as a sidenote: The Eastern Orthodox, who have valid Holy Orders and Sacraments, have always affirmed with the Catholic Church the Real Presence of Christ in the divine Liturgy; however, I BELIEVE (I may be wrong) they abstain from all blood as a severe form of obedience to this Council’s decree. Perhaps talking to some Orthodox on how they reconcile what you perceive as an apparent contradiction might provide some insight.
A thought. :shrug: