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Holy Week Blood

The blood of Christ was shed for you.

I am very thankful for the parents I have. They are kind and generous, and they have been an example of these traits in many ways throughout my life. One in particular is that they are regular blood donors – not just once or twice a year, when there is a local blood drive, or when an emergency occurs. They donate regularly, because they know it helps, and it doesn’t hurt them in any way other than taking a half hour or hour of time.

I find it interesting that different blood types are in higher demand than others. It’s primarily due to the blood antibodies (proteins made by your body to attack foreign substances) and blood antigens (proteins or complexes of sugar molecules to which the immune system can respond) of each blood type.

The ABO system defines four main blood groups:

  • A     – has A antigens on the red blood cells with anti-B antibodies in the plasma
  • B     – has B antigens with anti-A antibodies in the plasma
  • AB  – has both A and B antigens, but no antibodies
  • O     – has no antigens, but both anti-A and anti-B antibodies in the plasma
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Your immune system will produce antibodies against any blood antigens you don’t have in your own blood. That means people with type A blood create antibodies against B antigens. A person with type A blood receiving a transfusion of type B or AB blood would have an ABO incompatibility reaction. In an ABO incompatibility reaction, your immune system attacks the new blood cells and destroys them.

This is why blood group O is the universal donor. It has no antigens on its blood cells so when it enters an A, B, or AB person, the recipient’s immune response isn’t going to flare up and attack it. So if you’re type O, you really should be giving as often as possible. You could save so many lives because this blood can be given to someone with any blood type. And then there is group AB which is the universal receptor. Because it has no antibodies, nothing fighting off the donated blood, it can accept any kind of blood that is given.

Have you ever thought about what blood type Jesus was?

What type of blood was shed for us on the cross on Good Friday?

He was fully human and so He had blood just like you and I do.

When I first thought about this, I automatically thought that He would be type O. He is all-loving and gives us everything we need, so I thought he would be the universal donor.

Because we can’t go back in time and take a blood sample, we cannot know for certain. However, there have been times in history where Eucharistic miracles have occurred, when the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist - what looks to us like bread and wine - took on physical properties of human flesh. (Disclaimer: Catholics are not required to believe in these miracles, but you can if it helps your faith.)

I found it interesting that, when the blood of one of these Eucharistic miracles was tested, it was actually found to be blood type AB, the universal receptor.

When we reflect on the celebrations occurring this upcoming weekend, it makes perfect sense. Yes, God the Father GAVE us His son as an eternal sacrifice, but He did this so that He could fully and completely TAKE ON or RECEIVE all of our sins. He did this for every single human on earth. Every tear we every cried, every drop of blood we ever shed, He took all of that onto Himself. He takes all of our sins and our failures and He turns them into something greater.

He conquered death.

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As we prepare for Good Friday, I encourage you to reflect on what you want to give to Christ. As we reflect on the Stations of the Cross on Friday, what sins have you committed? As He went through that agony, He was thinking of you specifically. He was atoning for your sins. He was thinking of everything that would happen in your life and He took that pain because He loves you and He wants to be with you in heaven.

Then as we transition into the Easter season on Sunday, think of what GIFTS you have. Think of the good things that you can give back to Christ. In what ways can you glorify His name through stewardship, a gift of time, talent, or treasure? We all have different gifts, how will you use yours? How can we give to the Lord in thanksgiving for the amazing miracle we celebrate every Sunday?

Have a blessed, albeit different, Holy Week this week!