The history of the Jewish people tells of their relationship with God – a relationship that ebbed and flowed, grew hot and cold, went from a passionate, loving bond to infidelity. Every time Israel turned their backs to the Lord, He came back with a new sign of His love, a new covenant by which He reaffirmed His love for His people. This Lent we have been hearing the stories of what led up to three of the covenants, the promises God made to His people.
In today’s first reading, we hear about yet another new covenant. This one will be different, though. God saw that a rainbow in the sky, or promising a nation whose members numbered more than the sands on the seashore, or giving the people His words written on stone were not enough. All these signs of the covenants God made with His people were not enough for them to internalize His message. With this new covenant, God wanted to show His desire to have a greater personal relationship with His people.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.
And I will be their God, and they shall be my people; for they shall all know me.” Jeremiah 31:31-33
When Jeremiah wrote these words, the Jews were captured by the Babylonians and exiled from Jerusalem. The words were meant to console them, to remind them that they were not abandoned by God, even though they had turned from Him. God wanted to assure His people that He was with them always. He wanted to restore their broken relationship caused by the Jews’ infidelity. This new covenant was about God forgiving us of our sins, offering us mercy, salvation, and life. He opens His arms again to us, wrapping us up in His love.
“God will make a new covenant within them and write it on their hearts!” (Jer 31:33-34). “Create in me a clean heart,” we reply with Psalm 51. Are we willing to live the words we pray? How do we internalize the words of the covenant? How are we keeping God’s promises?
Next week is Holy Week, are we living the promise? Living the covenant?
Confessions are heard in the Church on Friday from 6 p.m.—7 p.m. prior to Stations of the Cross.