For the Christian, it is inexpressibly painful, driving deep spikes of grief and sorrow into our very souls as our souls cry out over and over again:
My God, my God, how much he loves me!
Because of my sin, how much he suffered for me!
By the time our Lord is dragged away, the stone pavement of nearly the entire courtyard is covered with his blood.
And then, something unexpected happens.
Our Lord’s grief-stricken mother comes forward and slowly begins to wipe her son’s blood from the stones.
In a mysterious yet wonderful way, the meaning of her action relates to tonight’s first reading from the 12th chapter of Exodus: the account of the first Passover and of the blood of the Passover lamb.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house....
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.
A devout Jew, Mary understood deeply the meaning of the Passover, of the Exodus, and of blood in God’s salvation for his people.
By instinct, then, as well as by grace, she understood what would later be said in the letter to the Hebrews:
How much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal spirit
offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God.
How precious this blood. How deep this love.
Infinitely deep. Infinitely precious.
Tonight and every night and every tomorrow,
we must respond to this love.
At every moment of our lives,
with every word, thought, and act,
we must make manifest this love, this grace,
given in this most precious blood of Jesus.
"Blood of Christ, fill me."
"Sanguis Christi, inebria me"