I begin this fifth week of Lent with a greeting that is beyond comprehension but one we know well. Listen to the familiar words heard each and every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we attend:
TAKE THIS ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT,
FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT…
New and eternal covenant brings us into the Prophet Jeremiah’s truth we hear proclaimed this week:
The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…it will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers…I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” Jer 31: 31-33
This new covenant that God promises for eternity, that supersedes any previous covenants with humanity, is the Eucharist, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! It is here that God places himself, his being, his life, within us. This is indeed the reality of Mass. That covenant is a living person that enters our own life form… His blood becomes ours, His body ours, His life ours!
This is the fulfillment of the covenant that the Prophet Jeremiah is proclaiming. Or you could say that we are that fulfillment as the body of Christ. We are the living covenant. This is the final and eternal covenant that God promises.
These realities that are proclaimed this fifth Sunday of Lent are exactly why I believe this Year of the Eucharist is so critical for us. We need this time and emphasis to grasp more, and more, the truth of this covenant. We need to reflect on this and allow it to radiate from our lives. This is why we refer to the Mass as the source and summit of our lives.
This is so important to us all. I will not stop trying to celebrate this Year of the Eucharist for as long as I can. In fact, I find it even more compelling amid all the challenges placed before us. The pandemic and all the restrictions will not stop us from doing whatever we can to embrace and know more fully the truth of God’s covenant that defies our intellect and merit.
As we continue to prepare for entering into the Easter mysteries, let’s consider the words of the prophet Jeremiah… the fulfillment of the final and eternal covenant is before us every time we come into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.