Never without blood did the high priest enter the Most Holy Place for his annual exhilarating, terrifying task. Always he took blood, offering for the life of the people.
Not without blood did the Blessed Virgin bring forth the Life of the world,* that she herself, that all women, that all humans, together with all creation, might be saved through that most holy childbearing.
Not without blood did our own High Priest complete his work: he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Indeed, so intense was his labor for the rebirth of the world that his sweat splashed crimson to the ground.
Never without blood do we strive, do we labor to bring forth new life. Sometimes, the blood is loss. Never is it meaningless, never is it nothing. Surely the Son of Man, whose conception forever sanctified the blood of the womb—surely He receives as precious, even holy, the blood offering of the womb. And surely He receives, He delivers, the littlest of His lost lambs with the utmost of tenderness.
Never without blood. And so we approach the altar for our own exhilarating, terrifying meeting with the One who gave, who gives, His own blood for us. May the sweet sharpness of that sacred bloodwine strengthen and preserve us, comfort and hearten us, even now and unto life everlasting.
*Yeah, I know: it coulda happened like the sanitized story we offer our overly curious preschoolers: “It was time and we went to the hospital and—would you believe it—there he was! Shazam! Just dematerialized from Mom’s belly and rematerialized in her lap!” But I’m inclined to think that Mary tossed her unleavened toast at the beginning of the pregnancy, had swollen feet by the end, thought she was going to die when she hit transition, and delivered our Lord in a euphorically terrifying rush of blood and pain.