Our readings today compare Christ’s New Covenant with the Old Covenant enacted under Moses in Chapter 24 of Exodus.
Briefly, a covenant is a unique contract. While in other contracts the parties exchange money or property of value, in a covenant they exchange their selves. We see that in marriage where the priest asks, “Have you come here freely, without reservations, to give yourselves to each other in marriage.” While in proposing both the Old and New Covenants God says, “You will be my people, and I will be your God.
In today’s Gospel Jesus left the multitude on the flatland below, while he called his Apostles u around him. There, he is echoing Exodus 24 where at Sinai, Moses left the people below when he called the leaders of the Tribes up around him.
Moses read the Commandments from stone tablets, while in the “Letter to the Hebrews” we hear God saying, “I will put my laws in their hearts.”
The people in the Exodus account looked upon blood as life itself, so when Moses had the young men going through the throng, casting blood on them all and on God’s altar, the people saw themselves as being welded into one life with each other and with God.
At the heart of our Mass we hear our echo of that sprinkling as Jesus says, “this is the cup of my blood of the new and everlasting covenant.”
Our taking the chalice is the counterpart of the Israelis all being sprinkled with the same blood.