He will be our God, and we will be his people.

Thursday, 3/3/16

In the first reading, God makes an offer, saying, “Listen to my voice, then I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”  

He was there asking the Israelites to renew their covenant with him. A covenant, of course, is a special contract in which the parties exchange not only substances of value, but they exchange their very selves.

In the hundreds and hundreds of marriages where I have officiated, I have always asked the same question, “Have you come here freely, and without reservations, to give yourself to each other?”  If they have given themselves to each other, they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Look at the scene in Exodus, Chapter Twenty-Four where God entered into a covenant with the Israelites.

At the foot of Mt. Sinai, the young men had built an altar representing God, and they had gone off to fill brass bowls with the blood of steers. Meanwhile, the whole people assembled themselves before the altar and the mountain.

Then, as Moses called out each of the Commandments, the people shouted their promises to abide by them. As they were assenting, the young men were going  through the crowd, sprinkling each person with blood, then emptying the remaining blood from each brass bowl onto the altar.

Since the Israelites believed blood to be life itself, the blood on each of them and on God’s altar made the people one with each other and him. “You will be my people, and I will be your God.”

At the Last Supper, and at its renewal in our Mass, Jesus with his blood initiates the New Covenant between us and with him.

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