Sunday, July 29, 2018

Squandering and wandering

Sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Interesting. When I was preparing this, I could have sworn that the Gospel Reading was that of the Prodigal Son. I find that it is the Parable of the Unjust Steward, instead. I believe that I have been gently compelled to preach the following, and crave your indulgence if this is not what you are expecting.

Update: This will teach me to mix my missals. The Prodigal Son is today's reading from the Anglican Missal, not the English Missal.

There are times when, reviewing your bank statement, you think, “I wish I hadn’t bought that. What a waste of money!” or “I’m flushing money down the drain with that utility company!” If we were truly to take stock of the money we actually waste… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

What other things do we waste?

Time, energy, even the resources of our poor planet.
Our Lord shows us the prodigal son – prodigal means wasteful – to show us how the Father treats His children. What does the Lord think that we waste?


The prodigal son asks his father for his inheritance. What is interesting that he inherits a quantity of the father’s substance – that’s the literal translation. We do talk about being men and women of substance because we often think that what we own makes us who we are. The prodigal son takes control over what he believes is his by right. And the father lets him.
Does this compare with us and God? Surely we have no right over His substance? Surely He doesn’t owe us anything, does He?

We remember that God creates us in His own image. This does mean that we are, in some way, like Him. God and human beings share characteristics. God and Man are both rational. God and Man are both capable of love. God and Man have knowledge. Of course, whatever aspects we share, God possesses them perfectly, and we don’t. God’s knowledge far outstrips human knowledge. God’s love for us is more that we can know, and sometimes more than we can bear.

We do possess something of God’s substance, but the mistake that we make is that we believe to have it by right. That’s how we fall and leave God. As soon as we think that God owes us, we have lost the idea of love and entered into a world of buying and selling and profit and loss. In talking of rights, we enter into a world of legal and illegal and right and responsibility and politics. In this world, we can waste what God makes of us. We waste our time, our thinking, our love, our lives. We even waste our very selves because we see ourselves as a thing to be bought or sold in some kind of transaction in the world.

When we come to our senses, we are still thinking in these terms. We seek to go back to the Father but only as a slave, because that’s all we’re worth. In realising our sins, we believe ourselves to be totally depraved and legally Hell-bound. Again, we are looking, believing that we have grasped and control Law which we have torn out from the Goodness of God. In all this we forget God the Father as He is and His love for us. If we are lovable, then we are not totally gone out of God’s righteousness because we still bear the image of God. We are redeemable.

This is where God’s greatest gift to us comes in. It is the gift of Himself. His very existence gives us someone to believe in the darkness of our sin as we sit and bewail our wasting of our own souls. It is that belief in God, trusting in Him when we cannot trust anyone to love us, that is Good. In remembering his father back home, the prodigal son has faith in who his father is. Likewise, our Faith is a gift of God because God is a gift of God, and believing in Him, we find a way to live that brings us back to Him. It is because we continue to have faith and we continue to build up that faith that we become ourselves again: we become Good. This building up of our faith needs to be done by working in obedience to God, just as the blind woman trusts the instructions of her mother to direct her away from the cliff.


And then, when the prodigal son is home, we see the father throwing a lavish party! How wasteful is that?
Well it isn’t wasteful at all for such extravagance has a purpose in celebrating others. It is for all!

We should and actually need to rejoice when someone lost comes home for that is the expression of true love which is given to us and is part of us. While the son shows himself to be prodigal by taking away what he believes to be his, the father shows him how what he has is supposed to be used. In reunion with God, we don’t have profit, loss, law, politics, buying, selling – there is no such thing as possession. All these things are far too small ways of thinking, of knowing and of loving.

In reunion with God what we do have is Him as He really is and ourselves as we really are. In keeping the faith as far as we feebly can, we will be like Him for we will see Him as He really is.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Like Fr Hart, I find that I am no longer receiving email notifications for comments.

Please accept my apologies if your comment takes some time to appear. For my part, I will attempt to check carefully.

I am always happy to receive comments, though I do reserve the right not to publish those which are wilfully offensive or spammy.

Monday, July 23, 2018


Or Why I stopped watching Doctor Who

I will confess to having been an avid Doctor Who Fan for much of my life. It was a wonderful premise of the maverick alien pootling about the universe in a Police Box battling demonic pepper pots and mechanical men with ear protectors. I know that it was rather ramshackle at times, the sets wobbled, you could spot plasma balls being passed off as vortex manipulators, and some storylines were on the bonkers side of loony, but it was a show I grew up with. There was Good and there was Evil and sometimes it wasn’t absolutely clear which was which, even with the Doctor at times. There were explosions and drama and death and tragedy as well as comedy and mystery and science.

However, I will not be watching the series again, for much the same reason why I left the CofE: they are changing the show to indoctrinate people with the current Cultural Marxism. The catalyst for me is the fact that the Doctor, despite having been played by twelve actors, is now to be played by an actress. That’s not the cause of my disenfranchisement, it’s a symptom of it. It has only been in the last few seasons that the notion that the sex of a Time Lord is interchangeable despite it being quite fixed for the major part of the series. There are ways in which a female Doctor could have been achieved quite reasonably and in ways that made sense, but it has clearly been introduced as a norm for the Doctor that biological sex is fluid. Yes, I know that the Doctor is a “shape-shifting alien” (yet, he isn’t – the evidence of the series is regeneration, not “shape-shifting”) and thus anything can happen in science fiction, but the mechanism for this change is pure political correctness.

I didn’t watch the last episode of the series because, by then, I had had enough. Apparently, they brought back the character of the Doctor’s first incarnation and gave him lines which were deliberately sexist in order to show him as a thing of the past. This doesn’t fit in regard to the idea that Time Lord Sex is fluid, because if it is, then for the First Doctor to be sexist is completely incomprehensible. Yet it is clear that this was deliberate so that the audience could distance itself from values of the sixties when the series first aired.

Of course, that’s fine. Sexism, properly defined and properly understood, is an evil that must be eradicated. Women are not objects to make a cup of tea, wear pink, or submit to the wishes of their husbands; the fact that we have challenged that grotesque caricature and won is a true joy. But we cannot airbrush that out of history as if it never happened, nor can we demonise historical figures for attitudes that were socially acceptable then - that's not to say that by not demonising we are condoning their ideas. This demonisation of the past is, however, very short-sighted given that the same thing will happen to this milieu. All this Cultural Marxism will be looked back on with the same awkwardness and discomfort as we might encounter the phrase, “Women! Know your place!” We have to accept the facts of history as they are. I believe in objective moral standards by which all human beings and all ages will be measured. Sexism was wrong in the sixties, but that does not mean that we are any morally superior today! I think our Society is very good at virtue signalling when it comes up against attitudes of the past.

Of course, much of the motivation behind this is part of the phenomenon of the Social Pendulum that swings between the Liberal-Conservative, Socialist-Capitalist and Traditional-Progressive spectra. The physics of the Pendulum shows that the Pendulum always passes through the Equilibrium point with the highest speed. This means that just when Society has the balance right, the momentum of political swings always carries it through into political incorrectness. Why haven’t we learned this simple fact and worked out how to stop the Pendulum properly so that it balances?

You can see just how much the politics of Cultural Marxism is invading simple television shows by listening to the new producer of Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall, the man who is responsible for the sexual fluidity of Time Lords. On casting the female Doctor, he says:
“I just felt the time was right. I think if the show hadn’t done it, we would have been behind the world, and Doctor Who has got to be out front leading the world, and being a great example of all the amazing things that are in the world. So, it wasn’t even a question in my mind.”
What Mr Chibnall has just said is that he believes that a television programme is going to change the world for the better. He declares that it is his vision that everyone will subscribe to the moral values that he writes into his scripts. Mr Chibnall is a Social Justice Warrior par excellence, seeking to indoctrinate people against modern political incorrectness. What was a television programme that set out to inspire with ideas, to thrill with stories, and to pull on the heart strings has become a vehicle by which people are told what is good and bad.

There have been quotes in the series that are not so much Feminist (in the best and proper sense of standing up for women's equal humanity with men) but rather anti-Men. At one point, one female character says that she will hit the Doctor so hard he’ll regenerate. If a male character were to say that to a woman, there would be many moral questions asked. Yet, if the Doctor’s sex is fluid, then this horrible threat has already been said to a female character! But then, if sex is fluid, what is female and what is male? The attitude of many SJW activists is based on whether you feel male or female and thereby render language captive to the sensibilities of social groupings.

Of course, I am not allowed to voice my opinion on any official site because I will be shouted down. Apparently, my privilege as a white Englishman will be showing. Because "I" have been the oppressor, I must now take my turn to be oppressed. Apparently, this is socially just. It doesn't matter that two wrongs don't make a right, everyone needs to fit into the correct stratification according to privilege. Thus, stories which surround an itinerant Time Lord which have entertained me and inspired my thinking for much of my life must be taken away in order to teach me a lesson in how to be part of Society.

But the thing is, I have my imagination, my memories and an "off" button on my remote control. No amount of attempted Social Justice Indoctrination is going to prevent me from using them all.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How to recognise a bishop

Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

You'd have thought it would be easy to spot a bishop. You just need to look for the pointy hat and fancy robes, and then you're done. However, the fact is that many real bishops have never worn a pointy hat and many pointy hat wearers are not real bishops.

Given that God has given us bishops as a gift to the Church so that we can be encouraged in His Grace, knowing real bishops from fake bishops is important.


Now we can get technical over the rules of consecrating bishops and talk about the Apostolic Succession, but it's always best to go back to the Source and the words of Our Lord and Saviour Who is the true Bishop of our souls. And it is simple: by their fruits ye shall know them.


Of course, bishops are human beings and just as fallible as we are, but one thing will be true: a bishop will be dedicated to the working out in the Grace of God of his own holiness and that of every single individual in his diocese.

A true bishop will not deceive you about the state of the church. There are bishops out there who will pretend to be Roman Catholic in order to ride on the backs of a large group of Catholics. However, if you look hard, you will see that the Roman Catholic Church does not know who they are. A true bishop will be like Cuprinol and do exactly what it says on the tin.

A true bishop will exercise humility. He has an important office and it is a good thing to see a bishop dressed in full regalia as he becomes a living ikon of Christ the High Priest at the sacrifice in Heaven. However, a true bishop will remember that he is an ikon painted on his own being which is flawed and broken by the effects of sin. He will seek to serve his diocese, just as Christ served his disciples in the washing of their feet.

A true bishop will be active, not just appearing to be a bishop in a painting. When the cassock comes off, a true bishop will continue to preach the Gospel in his life outside the sanctuary. He will not be a machine for ordinations and confirmations, but his activity will be for God's glory in the whole world. He is not a statue in the sanctuary, but a man sentenced by his own love for God to hard labour.

A true bishop will laugh at himself because he knows his unworthiness to bear the mitre but rejoices in the love and mercy of God at using him in such a quintessentially important way for the Church. He will laugh with people; he will cry with people but he will keep himself under guard so that God in him may increase in the world.

A true bishop will live out the traditional Gospel, changing nothing to suit the world's sensitivities. He (and a true bishop is male) will not allow his diocese to follow the fashionable philosophies or temporary ideas of social justice, but will seek only to bring God's justice into the world which will always be rejected by the world. He will be a controversial figure to secular society and the Devil will groan when he stands up to speak for he will speak the words of God confessing at all times the reality of Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, God Crucified, God risen, and God saving.


That's how you recognise a true bishop. Now you know, perhaps you wonder why anyone would want to be one.

This is why every bishop needs respect, love and prayers for he has devoted his life to hardship for the sake of God and for the love of God's children.

Make sure, then, that you pray hard for your bishop. Whether you like him or not, he is God's gift to you, so pray that he may be so.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Love and Punishment

Ben the Bully taunts Small Paul, "you're a flinched, a quitter and will always be!" Small Paul struggles not to flinch every time that Ben swings at him, narrowly missing him. However, at each swing, Paul's impulse causes him to jerk away and desperately want to flee.

Twenty years later, Small Paul, the police sergeant, takes a bullet in the shoulder meant for Ben and is awarded a medal for gallantry.

The End.

What? Did you want Ben to get his comeuppance? Why?

It's actually quite natural to want to see Ben punished for his bullying of Paul, and perhaps it says something about our sense of justice. We should not expect to get away with wrongdoing. We want offenders to get their just desserts.

Yet, it was Paul who proved Ben wrong. Is that not enough? Do we have a need to see Ben grovelling in the dirt?

It's a good question. Why is Paul's medal not enough for us? Good triumphs. Evil is defeated.

 Schlock horror producer, William Castle, famous for his gimmicks in movie theatres, shot the film, "Mr Sardonicus" with two endings, one in which the titular antihero is punished and the other where he is shown mercy. The audience were then given the choice as to what ending was shown in a manner similar to the audience at ancient Roman gladiatorial contest. They were invited to punish Sardonicus or show him mercy. I don't think I have ever seen the version of the film where he is shown mercy. The villain must get his comeuppance.

Often in films, the more horrible the villain, the more gruesome the death. Think of Major Toht in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", or Bellatrix Lestrange in the last Harry Potter film. 

Evidently, we still possess the desire to attend public executions and howl in derision at the downfall of some perpetrator of evil.

And it's quite Biblical. When Babylon falls spectacularly and completely, the angel says:

"Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her."
(Apocalypse xviii.20)

That really does sound like we are bidden to rejoice in another's misfortune even if they were promotors of evil. In the fourth chapter of the Book of Wisdom, we read of God laughing the wicked to scorn. Of course, we cannot attribute human emotions to God the Father, but we are interpreting some fundamental aspect of God. To rebel against God for whatever reason is foolish and laughable.

Is laughter the right response?

In many ways, laughter is a human response to contradiction or to a surprising outcome. Like the wagging of a dog's is caused by confusion albeit of a happy disposition, our laughter is sometimes a reaction to things that confuse us. You can see this in the beautiful absurdity of Spike Milligan or Monty Python in which the common course of life is subverted or shown up for being silly.

Ultimately, when faced with God, the human being who continues to rebel is committing an act of absurdity at which we might conceivably laugh. Laughter robs an evil act of its power by showing it to be meaningless. We can think of St Laurence telling his roasters to turn him over as he is done on one side, and we see how light the great saints can make of evil because they trust wholly in God even in their last agony.

This is why we don't need Ben any more in Paul's story. His part is played and his scheme to rob Paul of his dignity are thwarted. The focus can only be on Paul's joy as he is recognised as the hero he is. We don't need to see Ben's fall.

And what if Ben were to fall. Could we really take pleasure in the ruin of another human being? We are tempted to. The child  murderer Ian Brady was told to rot in Hell by so many. Given that those beautiful little people he murdered have been robbed from the world, it is right, surely, that we cry out for justice particularly on behalf of those who can cry out no more.

Yet were he to have repented in that last millisecond of his life; were he to have called upon the name of Christ for forgiveness, what then? We have to look at the thief on the Cross. We don't get a say in the matter. We have to accept the fact that it is still possible for Ian Brady, Adolph Hitler and even Judas Iscariot to inherit eternal life with God and, we hope, us. Love must demand every possibility for reconciliation.

But not as we are.

For reconciliation requires transformation, and to be transformed requires us to accept the need for this transformation which will prevent us from existing on our own terms. To accept transformation means relinquishing all that stops love from operating. This is why Pride really is the deadliest sin because it refuses to allow anyone else to have a say in who we are. Pride tells us to continue in our way, regardless. Pride rules out true forgiveness because it insists on terms and conditions which may be impossible to meet.

This is why the proud are deserving of so much pity and why this infuriates them because pity is something they do not wish to invite because it does not come from their will. The gentle waters of Love are as acid to the proud. Not for nothing does St Paul say,

"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."
(Romans xii.20)

But that sounds like punishment! "Get your revenge by being nice."

Except, by being good, noble, loyal, humble and valiant, we allow ourselves to be transformed. We recall that in biblical languages, justice and righteousness are synonymous. To obtain justice, we need to obtain righteousness for ourselves, not rob it from another. By being transformed by Christ we gain justice and grow in love which the Devil hates because it corrodes his massive pride through our turning our backs on him.

For Paul, he acquires virtue through a bullet to the shoulder. The scar becomes his badge of honour and his righteousness is seen for what it is. His suffering for the sake of goodness, fighting against his fears, this is how the balanced is addressed. This is how he is transformed and how justice is done.

And Ben?

Well, the challenge for us is always to seek righteousness. And Mercy is of Righteousness. If we cannot be merciful then we do not let righteousness fully into our lives. God wants to show us mercy, but we can only attain it if we ourselves are merciful. This is another reason why Ben must disappear from the story. He has to be allowed to repent and we have to be prepared to meet him again with warmth and generosity. Until he does, we must not allow ourselves to demonise him or make him any less of a human being and child of God. We give him space in his life and in our own, so that he may turn and be transformed just as we must be transformed ourselves.

It is the Christian duty to bring Christ with us into every single part of our lives and meet Him in every relationship with others. That way justice and mercy can be done properly and the Kingdom of God made available to this dark world.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The ichthyology of acronyms

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity
By now, you will have heard many say how the feeding of the four thousand and the feeding of the five thousand are a bit like the Mass. Our Lord gives thanks, breaks bread and then feeds so many people with just the little He has been given. And this is something that He does for us today: we receive the same Bread of Heaven, no matter where we are in the Church, no matter WHEN we are in the Church. We are partakers of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. Hang on! Our Lord breaks that record! We are partakers of the miracle of the countless millions of Christians who have ever lived.
But what about the fish?
The four thousand are also fed with fish. When do we get fish?
You will be disappointed to know that your priest is not going to set up a deep-fat fryer in the sanctuary and provide you with a battered cod meal. At a purely practical level, the four thousand are fed with fish because that’s what they have. As the Lord Himself might say, what they have more shall be given to them. They make their offering to God and He blesses it and multiplies it for everyone’s good. It just so happens to be fish on both occasions. If they were to offer lamb, then that’s what the multitude may be given. Same if had been turnip, potatoes or pizza. The Lord takes what we have, blesses it and multiplies it for the good of the world. This is why we offer together our bread and wine and, at the hands of the priest in co-operation with the Holy Ghost, our sacrifice becomes the sacrifice that feeds the whole world with God’s goodness.
But God uses what we give for other things to. He can give us a deeper message if we are willing to listen.
There’s something very Christian about fish, and very ancient.
You may know that the study of fish is ichthyology. You may also have heard of the fish-like dinosaur called ichthyosaurus. The Greek word Ichthys is a fish, and you also know that some Christians use the fish as a symbol. This is because Ichthys is a Greek Acronym like ETA, or LOL, or TTFN. This is “Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter” which means, “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour.” Be assured, this works better in Greek and is more meaningful than WWJD that you may often hear.
In the word ichthys, we hear our first and most simple creed – a statement of what we believe. For we believe that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God who is saving us from our sins through His death upon the Cross.
Thus we do have fish at our Mass, for Our Lord is as present to us as we are to each other, though even more so. Just as the four thousand partake of the flesh of fish, so do we for we do eat the real Body of Christ albeit under the appearance of bread. For the four thousand, the bread and the fish are seen separately. For us, bread is transformed into Body, the Fish – the Ichthys, Our Lord Himself – is truly present, veiled by the appearance of bread for us to partake and be fed.
It’s difficult to know whether God intends to use fish and fishermen to spread the message of the reality of our salvation. We can speculate what would happen if He were offered something different like if He had come into a society of farmers rather than fishermen. But speculation can distract us from what is. We must let God know His own mind and, in respect and love for Him and His Creation, we offer Him the best of what we have and let Him multiply it for the good of all.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Raca to Raca!

Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity
It’s not a word that springs to many lips in the United Kingdom these days. Indeed, you probably have never said it in your life. Clearly, you will never be in danger of facing the Council.
But you know it’s not as simple as that, don’t you? What is this passage of Scripture? What is Jesus saying?
Let’s look.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgement. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.
So, if you are angry with your brother without a cause you face judgement.
If you say “Raca” to your brother, you face the Council.
If you call your brother a fool, you face Hell itself!
To understand what Jesus is saying, we need to understand what Raca is. It’s an Aramaic word which means worthless or empty – something you’d spit on. To say “Raca” to someone is to show them contempt. We see that Our Lord is saying that to be angry without a cause means that we will be judged for it, but to show contempt will bring us to the judgement of a higher court. Isn’t calling someone a fool nothing but contempt?
Not quite. The word we understand as “fool” is actually a lot stronger. While “Raca” calls someone’s taste or opinions to account, to call someone a fool calls that whole person to account. You can rubbish someone’s opinions and that is Raca, but to rubbish the person, to demonise them, to strip away their humanity with a word of contempt, that is what Our Lord means here.
So the Lord says:
If you are angry with your brother without a cause you face judgement.
If you show a baseless contempt for your brother’s opinions or taste, you face the Council.
If you demonise your brother and treat him like the scum of the earth, you face Hell itself!
You can see that there is a very clear progression in how our baseless anger proceeds. When we are angry with someone without a cause, we can start to let it fester. As our anger festers, we start to hate what a person says, we hate the way they speak and the way they act until, in our anger, they cease to be human, they cease to be in our eyes the person that God made, they cease to become loveable. And that’s serious.
It also shows that not all sin has the same judgement. To be angry yet to stop that anger from festering has less that needs to be put right than actively hating someone so much.
Our Lord is clear. We are to love our neighbours at all times and to live in peace with them. Clearly disputes and arguments will arise, but each one of us needs to examine ourselves quickly to see if we are the ones at fault and then put it right before we present ourselves to God. When heated disagreement arises, we are not to look for the cause in the other person, but in ourselves first so that we can repent and make any repairs necessary.
All sin can be forgiven except the one that completely rejects God. We have to remember that this is true for each one of us. And we have to remember that it is true for everyone else. Everyone can be forgive: everyone who repents should be forgiven, and we need to be ready to forgive freely and generously, just as God is willing to forgive us freely and generously. That way we can say “Raca” to all Evil and cling to what is truly Good in our brothers and sisters.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Christianity and Black Pudding

Sermon for the Feast of the Precious Blood
Are you squeamish? Do you have trouble watching horror films, or feel unwell whenever you see an injury?
The abnormal fear of blood is called haematophobia, but is there anything abnormal about being troubled by the sight of blood. Surely, it’s a natural fear to have. The sight of blood is the sight of something on the outside that should be on the inside. When we see blood, we see with it injury, pain and suffering. When someone bleeds badly, it is as if their very life is draining from them. Indeed that is how the Hebrews see blood. In blood is life, and this is why Jewish meat must be prepared in a kosher fashion: no blood must remain in the meat.
This is because God tells Noah, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”  Thus, we see that we are not to consume the life of animals for to do so would make us like animals. Our Lord reminds us that it is very true that we are what we eat. This is a bit problematic if you enjoy a bit of black pudding for breakfast.
You can see, then, how much of a scandal it is to the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus suggests that unless we drink of His blood we shall not have life within us. If you think about it, perhaps the scribes and Pharisees have a point: if God tells Noah in the dim and distant past not to consume the blood of animals, and this is something that the Jews have kept faithfully, why on earth should things be different now? Surely sin is sin. If God is Eternal, then what is not God is also Eternal. An act which is sinful from the Beginning of Time must be at the End of Time too.
This is true, but notice how Noah can, in theory, eat pigs which cannot be kosher. The law that prohibits eating of pigs comes into effect at the Exodus. The point that God is making is that there is no sin in consuming blood in the act, unlike murder when the act itself is sinful. The only sin that can be committed for Noah to eat black pudding here is being disobedient to God.
What changes between Noah and Now is due to the presence of God Himself.
Our Lord Jesus Christ gives human beings that which they have never had before. They are offered His own blood to drink, and in so doing find themselves receiving the very life of God. This is why the Mass is called Holy Communion. In eating the Body of Christ and drinking the Blood of Christ, we are bound up together in the life of God Himself. We share the process of living with Him. This cannot come about through the blood of animals. In rejecting the blood of Christ, the Scribes and Pharisees reject the life of God because they are restricted to only to what is visible. They see only the blood of animals and men, they cannot discern the Blood of God.
In Christ, the old food laws are fulfilled and are no longer binding because we are unified to Christ in His Blood. We drink the blood under the appearance of wine so that no-one need to fear drinking the true Blood of Christ. Christians are not vampires – and we have actually been accused of being so on the account of our Faith.
Because of the importance of the Blood of Christ, it is important that the Church offers the Chalice to all who approach the altar rail. While it is fine and praiseworthy to receive the Body of Christ alone, you are allowed to drink the Blood of Christ, too.
The appearance of blood is always shocking, and it has to be said that we should not approach the Chalice without remembering how much of a shock it is to drink the Blood of Christ. We need to approach remembering His suffering and pain on the Cross and remember that this pain and suffering He was ready and willing to undergo for us so that we might have life in Him. So, do drink the Blood of Christ if you will, and find that refreshment of His life running through your being just as the blood runs through your veins, and be not afraid!