Well, historians tell us that in an earlier age before Israel became a nation, men would create a special bond, becoming “blood brothers,” and the bond was ratified by drinking each other’s blood. Later on, substitutes for this “bonding ritual” were created, such as eating a sacrificial meal or sprinkling the blood of a sacrificed animal on the parties to the ritual. In our recent history we see traces of other substitutes, such as in the American frontier days of cowboys and Indians (two men would make an incision on their arms, then clasp them together, becoming “blood brothers”). Similar rituals exist in our Aboriginal culture and that of the New Guinea natives.
In effect, we are talking about creating a “community of life,” whether of individuals or a nation. The Mosaic Covenant was the creation of a new community of life, a bond between the Israelites and the Life-Giver, Yahweh. This bonding ritual was ratified by sprinkling the blood of sacrificed animals on the people. Our ancestors understood this ritual, which was a part of their culture, so it would not have been an unpleasant experience for them.
But Jesus gave us a New Covenant at the Last Supper (Mark 14:22-24). This ritual also created a “community of life” and it was ratified when Jesus sacrificed his own body and shed his own blood for our redemption. Those who believe in the “Real Presence” recognise and understand by faith that in this new way, Jesus is giving us new life. It looks like bread and wine to our senses, but it is Truly the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in sacramental form.
Every Sunday we are invited to renew our bonding ritual, the New Covenant, by receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus and uniting ourselves to him at this sacrificial meal, and by celebrating this Eucharist, we give thanks to God for his works of creation, redemption, and sanctification.