Let’s take a brief look at each of todays three readings.
The first reading describes the return journey of Paul and Barnabas through what is now Turkey. At each town where they had established a going Christian community, they appointed a priest as a leader. Although our English text refers to them as “elders,” since Webster's tells us that our word “priest” is directly derived from the Greek word presbyteros, the word St. Luke used, we can say that Paul and Barnabas appointed a priest for every town.
The second reading is from the Book of Revelation. It portrayed John as having been rapped up into heaven where he saw a New Jerusalem, and he saw it as artfully combining the followers of Judaism and Christianity in one structure.
The Gospel describes the establishing of the New Covenant, and we are meant to see it as related to the establishment of the Old Covenant.
In Chapter Twenty-Four of Exodus as Moses was calling out the Ten Commandments the people assembled before Mount Sinai were shouting out their willingness to be bound by them. At the same time young men were making their way through the throng, sprinkling both them and God’s altar with the blood of steers. (And since the Hebrews saw blood as life itself, they saw the blood on them and on God's altar as uniting them and all into one people with God. )
At the Last Supper Jesus offered his blood to one and all, saying “This is the New Covenant in my blood.” And, he bound them together by the one commandment that constituted the New Covenant, saying, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another.”