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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Sacrifice as a Sign of Covenant

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for Wednesday, Week 12 Ordinary Time (A1):

LECTIONARY no. 373 (Gn 15: 1-12,17-18; Ps 105: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9; Mt 7: 15-20), When the Responsorial (Psalm 105) tells us “The Lord remembers his covenant forever,” this is an echo of the “virtual definition of God” that God gave us when he showed his “glory” to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” 1 Genesis 15: 1-18 shows us the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants: Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able… So shall your descendants be… I am the LORD who brought you from Ur… to give you this land to possess. But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" Then God told him to offer a sacrifice as sign of the covenant. In the sacrifice of Calvary, not repeated, but made present at every Mass, we have the enduring, visible sign of the covenant God has made with his Church. In the Eucharistic Prayer, during the first elevation of the chalice, the presider repeats Jesus’ words in the name of all: “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.” When we receive Christ’s blood in the Rite of Communion, we “drink to the Covenant,” in affirmation of all it says. Another sign of the covenant is the everlasting priesthood of Jesus, a “priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” This unfailing priesthood of Jesus is made visible to us, both in the priesthood of those ordained to preside at the altar sacrifice, and in the priesthood of all the baptized consecrated to offer their “bodies as a living sacrifice” for others in everything they do. Their constant self-offering is an enduring sign of Jesus the Priest offering himself still in the members of his body. Through the ministry of their physical expression of faith, hope and love Jesus continues to offer his “flesh for the life of the world.” And so “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” through the priesthood of Jesus, who has “become the guarantee of a better covenant… because he continues forever.” Our ministry is a sign that “The Lord remembers his covenant forever.” 2 In Matthew 7: 15-20 Jesus warns us: “Beware of false prophets…. you will know them by their fruits.” A specific meaning of “prophet” is “someone who bears witness by embodying the Gospel in action.” But proclaiming and teaching — by word and example, in family, social and professional life — are also prophetic functions that go with priesthood. They are a special duty of all who are priests by Baptism. Our teaching should be characterized by love, joy, and peace. By faith in God’s word rather than by fixation on Church rules; by hope focused on God’s fidelity more than on human failures, and above all by a healing, reconciling love that shows how “The Lord remembers his covenant forever.3

Initiative: Be a priest. Show trust in God’s fidelity. Be positive by hope.

1 Exodus 34:6; see the Jerome Biblical Commentary on John 1:14.

2 See Hebrews 6:13 to 7:25; Romans 12:1-2; John 6:51; Colossians 1:24.

3 Galatians 5:22.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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