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The Power of the Blood…

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Lent

for post on the power of the BloodIf we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish”, commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors”. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

“There flowed from his side water and blood”. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit”, and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.

St. John Chrysostom


Art for this post on the Power of the Blood – The Crucifixion: Crucifixion detail of Issenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grünewald (c.1470-1528), 1506 to 1515 or perhaps 1512 to 1516, PD-US author's term of life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at

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  • Fr. Bartunek, you’ve been nominated for the best Catholic speaker of 2009 in our latest competition! Just wanted to let you know! You can find the poll here:

    It is ongoing and we appreciate your support of so many wonderful Catholic speakers…yourself included! Thanks for all you do. God bless!

  • Mary Macharia

    God bless you Fr. Bartunek. I sure have voted you my Spiritual Director!!!! Your articles are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  • I really enjoy and learn from the wonderful things you post on this blog. Thank you for the time and effort!

    I suggest to further your reach and spread the good news and inspiration even more you should put a link to your site on run by Jeff Geerling and join ( These are great ways for Catholics to connect, communicate and share the truths of our faith. And you have much goodness to share with all of us! 🙂

    Thank you and God bless,

  • Mary Macharia

    Once again, thank you Fr. John. To me, you are the answer to my prayers to God when I begged Him to direct me where He wishes me to obtain spiritual nourishment. You will never begin to imagine just how much you are helping me. God bless you and your comrades on this Website

  • Mustardseed3

    I never connected it. Eve coming from the rib of Adam and the church coming from the side of Christ. It makes sense. But, is this a personal reflection of this spiritual aspect of ‘the bride of Christ’ or approved by the magisterium of faith
    understanding? (I hope I said this right)

    • LizEst

      Yes, the Church approves…and much has been written on this. One thing with St. John Chrysostom, he says things very beautifully…and is famous for speaking wonderfully. Chrysostom means “golden mouthed.” This name was given to him because of his preaching.

  • Becky Ward

    “Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you.”

    This is beautiful!! I just love how the saints write! I’ve not heard of the Church’s beginning being compared to how Eve was fashioned from Adam’s side until now…………….much food for thought here!!

    Thank you & God Bless!!

  • Guest

    Here we have it from St. St. John Chrysostom. A confirmation of why Jesus Himself- appearing before St. Faustina in 1931, demanded to have the Image of the Divine Mercy – just as He stood before her – with the Blood and Water streaming from his Divine and Merciful Heart – to be painted with the Signature “Jesus i Trust in You” – venerated, first in her homeland – Poland – and then throughout His Universal Church. And what a blessed Year this one is.

    We have special blessings on this year’s Feast of the Divine Mercy which falls on 1st May. Jesus requested through St. Faustina, that this Feast be established and celebrated in the Universal Church, again way back in 1931. The Feast Day is special because – Venerable Pope John Paul II, who was decreed to fulfil Christ’s Wish and instituted this Feast in the Year 2000 – is being Beatified on that Feast Day!!!!!!

    As our Spiritual Director of the Eucharistic Apostles the Divine Mercy taught us last month, this Feast represents the New and Evalasting Day of Atonement which the Israelites celebrated as recorded in Leviticus Chapter 16. Because Jesus explained to St. Faustina….. “souls who will prepare for this Feast by praying the Novena I have dictated to you beginning on Good Friday, go for Confession during that week, attend the Holy Mass on the Feast Day, receive the Holy Communion and venerate this Image, will have all their sins and punishment thereof forgiven…….” Therefore on this Sunday of Divine Mercy – the Feast of Atonement – those who observe what Christ demanded through St. Faustina, will be so blessed in that their souls will be restored to the condition they were in on the day of Baptism!!!!!!

  • LizEst

    …and let’s not forget:
    “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst…” John 4:10, 14
    AND in the Old Testament:
    “…they have forsaken me, the source of living waters…” Jeremiah 2:13b

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