“Drink from it, all of you”: Science supports Jesus’ words

“Drink from it, all of you”: Science supports Jesus’ words June 3, 2024

During the Last Supper, Jesus blessed the bread and wine, inviting His friends to “drink from it” (Matthew 26:27). Likewise, at Mass, the priest consecrates the wine, blessing it and inviting the faithful to drink from it.

If you attend Mass regularly, you may have noticed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, churches stopped offering the consecrated wine—the blood of Christ. This was presumably done to prevent the spread of germs. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, churches rarely serve the consecrated wine.

Theology of drinking the blood of Christ

There is a beautiful theology explaining the spiritual rationale for drinking the blood of Christ. For example, drinking the blood of Christ is a sacrament. Christ is present to us in a special way when we participate in this sacrament. Moreover, we experience a deeper union with Christ by consuming His precious blood.

The science of drinking the blood of Christ

Not surprisingly, since 1) science is the study of creation and 2) God is the author of creation, we find that science supports this theology. That’s right, biological and psychological findings demonstrate the benefits of sharing the consecrated wine—the blood of Christ.


First, research continues to reveal the benefits of a healthy gut microbiome—the collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses living in your digestive system. Research shows, for example, that a diverse and healthy gut microbiome is related to better mood, mental health, well-being, cognition, and social interactions (e.g. de Vries et al., 2022). Did you notice that you were getting sick more often after COVID-19 social distancing requirements were lifted? Well, that’s at least partially because during the pandemic, we set ourselves apart from others’ germs, thereby reducing the health of our gut microbiome. By sharing in the cup of Christ’s blood, we unite not only with Christ, but with others—in a unique way. We exchange germs. That’s right—this exchange of germs facilitates a healthy gut microbiome- fostering wellness in us and others. In other words, drink from the chalice and help strengthen the Body of Christ.

Share in each other’s sufferings

When we drink from the cup of Blood, we not only get a portion of each others’ germs, but we also get a portion of each others’ sufferings. We all drink the Blood of Christ, thereby sharing in His sufferings—which are the sufferings of all humanity. Thus, this sacramental act unites us not only to Christ, but to others as well—through shared suffering. When we understand others’ sufferings, we can be more empathetic; and empathetic communication has been shown to foster countless benefits (Howick et al., 2018). Moreover, when we share in each others’ sufferings, we become more aware of potential solutions and thus, can work more productively towards alleviating suffering for all.

Remembering Jesus’ sacrifice

Finally, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice and love for us when we drink from the chalice. Research shows that acts of virtue—the ultimate act of virtue being, in the Catholic perspective, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross—elicits a self-transcendent emotion called elevation. When we experience elevation, we feel a positive mood and a desire to become a better person. Drinking the blood of Christ helps us recall His sacrifice and thus, may lead to feelings of elevation.

Drink from it

So, you may consider drinking from the cup of Blood—if it’s offered, that is. The Church also has guidelines about how to prepare to receive the Blood of Christ, such as receiving the sacrament of Baptism and preparing to receive your first Holy Confession—if you haven’t done so yet. With this preparation and sharing in the Blood of Christ, you’ll be brought into the messy, struggling, jumble of humanity—germs, sufferings, and more; yet with this, you’ll experience renewed health through the redemption of Christ.



de Vries, L. P., van de Weijer, M. P., & Bartels, M. (2022). The human physiology of well-being: A systematic review on the association between neurotransmitters, hormones, inflammatory markers, the microbiome and well-being. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 139, 104733.

Howick, J., Moscrop, A., Mebius, A., Fanshawe, T. R., Lewith, G., Bishop, F. L., … & Onakpoya, I. J. (2018). Effects of empathic and positive communication in healthcare consultations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 111(7), 240-252.

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