Readings for Friday January 21, 2011
Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr
First Reading: Hebrews 8:6-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 85
Gospel: Mark 3:13-19
For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second one. But he finds fault with them and says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they did not stand by my covenant and I ignored them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest. For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more. (Heb. 8:7-12)
In the old testament, God made several covenants with His people Israel. In each of these covenants, God made promises to the people if the people would be faithful and keep His commandments. Unfortunately, even with God's extensive patience, the people would not stay faithful. A covenant is an agreement between two people or two groups. In a covenant, each group agrees to abide by certain terms and to hold up their end of the deal. Being in a covenant involves an active part from both groups, it means that you have to be involved and make good on your part. God kept His part of the covenant, but the people did not.
In today's first reading Saint Paul tells us too that we are in covenant with the Lord. We are in the new and better covenant which is through Christ our Lord. We can see that in the gospel of Mark today that Jesus picks each of His disciples and asks them to follow Him. Like the disciples, we are also called ... we are called into covenant with our Lord. Christ came to offer us everlasting life, He calls us into this covenant and He tells us that if we are willing to follow Him and to let "the law be written on our hearts" that we can one day join Him in heaven. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!
Remember, God is calling each of us into covenant with Him, but this is not merely a simple contract; this is a promise made by us and God, and it requires active participation and complete surrender to Him. Remember, God will keep up His end, will we keep up ours?
"Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me." And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20)
Father thank you for this day. Give us the strength and courage to serve you this day and all days. Lord we pray for all lives in our world, both born and unborn, and pray that our world might all come to value life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.