After the story of creation in the Book of Genesis, the story of God entering into a covenant with Abraham is a pivotal moment in the Old Testament. The story of our salvation in Christ begins here. From this point on the Scriptures become the story of God’s relationship with his people. This relationship is summed up in the words which are repeated a number of times in the Old Testament, “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
A covenant is not like the relationship between business partners. A covenant is more like the relationship that exists between a husband and wife. In fact, this is how the prophets described it. They compared the covenant between God and his people as a marriage relationship. For his part, God is always faithful; God’s love is unchanging. Unfortunately, the people were not always faithful to the covenant.
In order to love and be loved, God has to give us the freedom to choose. The covenant between God and the human race has to be more than a matter of an all-powerful God laying down the Law. In such a case God would have our obedience but not our love. A covenant has to be freely entered into by the parties involved.
Today’s first reading tells us how Moses ratified the covenant before the people entered the Promised Land. However, the people did not keep the covenant. They fell into idol worship with the making of the golden calf. Even in the midst of their disobedience and sinfulness, God did not abandon them. Again and again God offered a covenant to them, and through the prophets taught them to hope for salvation.
In the fullness of time God sent his Son to be our Savior. Through Christ God established a new and eternal covenant with us. Jesus sealed the covenant in his own blood. Jesus is the head of the body, the new People of God. The land to which Jesus is leading us is not some piece of earthly land, but the Promised Land of eternal life. Through Christ we have the most intimate bond possible with our God. We are no longer simply God’s people; we are now God’s adopted sons and daughters. That makes us God’s family!
In Christ and through Christ, God has formed a bond with us, a bond that is so tight it can never be undone. This is what we are celebrating when we gather for the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the perpetual reminder of the intimate and unbreakable bond we enjoy with God, thanks to the saving death of Jesus.
As a community we are in covenant with a God who is always faithful to us. We are invited and challenged to live in a way that is consistent with such a relationship. As the dismissal at Mass says, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”
May our love for the Eucharist deepen each time we gather, and may the words of Blessed Carlo Acutis dwell in our minds and hearts, “The Eucharist is my highway to Heaven.”
– Fr. Dennis, June 6, 2021