.- Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his reflections before today's Angelus prayer to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. Recalling that the first Sunday of July was in the past dedicated to the devotion of the Most Precious Blood of Christ, he spoke of the Blood of Christ as a “source of hope in a world torn apart by violence and hatred.”
The Holy Father began by mentioning the importance of blood in the Old Testament. "The sprinkling with the blood of sacrificed animals,” the Pope explained, “represented and established the covenant between God and his people.”
When Jesus gave his life for mankind, the Pope taught, he shed his blood as the sacrificial lamb of the Old Covenant: "From his scourging, to the piercing of his side after his death of the cross, Christ poured out all of his blood, as the true Lamb slain for universal redemption.”
The blood that is still being spilled in the world today, he said, "cries out to God" like that of Abel, killed by Cain. "And sadly, today as yesterday, this cry is incessant, because human blood continues to flow as a result of violence, injustice and hatred.”
“To the cry for blood, which is raised from many parts of the earth, God answers with the blood of his Son, who gave his life for us,” the Holy Father expounded. “Christ did not respond to evil with evil but with good, with his infinite love.”
“The blood of Christ is the pledge of God's faithful love for humanity,” he continued. “Gazing at the wounds of the crucified Christ, every man, even in extreme moral poverty, can say: God has not forsaken me, he loves me, he gave his life for me; and so rediscover hope.”
“May the Virgin Mary,” Pope Benedict concluded, “who at the foot of the cross, together with the apostle John, gathered up Christ’s testament of blood, help us to rediscover the inestimable riches of this grace, and to feel enduring gratitude.”
At the end of the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI recalled the victims of a rail disaster in Viareggio, Italy, where a silo containing liquid gas exploded, resulting in 22 deaths. He also condemned the morning attack in front of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Cotabato in the Philippines. The Pope assured that he is praying for the victims and stressed that the use of violence will never bring about a solution to problems.