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Pastor’s Corner 3.17.2024

A New Covenant

The Old Covenant, the covenant that God made with Moses at Mt. Sinai, involved a long list of external practices that were meant to change how people lived, to turn them from the ways of the world to God’s way.  As the “chosen people”, the Jews were supposed to give witness to the world of justice and righteousness, so that all the nations might be drawn to the God of Israel.

                 St. Paul tells us that the Old Covenant Law revealed man’s sinfulness and lack of fidelity to the Lord.  Israel failed repeatedly to remain faithful to God.  God allowed the consequences of their sinfulness to bring pain and suffering on Israel.  While the most devout groups put much effort into reading, studying and practicing the minutia of the Law, they failed to let the Law transform their hearts.  But God is faithful.  Where we fall short, His grace provides.

 The first reading today from the Prophet Jeremiah announces that “The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers…”  What is this new covenant that God’s word is announcing? 

The new covenant involves a law written on our hearts.  It is a covenant ushered in by the sacrifice of Jesus, evidenced by His words at the Last Supper, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:20).  The Letter to the Hebrews makes reference to this and calls it “the blood of the eternal covenant.” 

Unlike the old covenant that has an external code to adhere to, the new covenant will have an internal law, what the Catechism calls the “interior law of charity” (CCC1965).  Jeremiah says it best: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts” (Jer 31:33 RSV).

The difference between old and new is the way God interacts with us. The old law was only able to show us how unrighteous we were because we could not live up to it, but under the new law of love, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us and enable us by grace to live out God’s calling.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.