Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fifth Sunday of Lent B: "The days are coming when I will make a new covenant": the Passion of Jesus Christ at work in the Church and the world

These are effervescent times in which to live. There are so many things happening in the world and there are unprecedented accesses to information, news and entertainment as never before. We can feel as though we are inundated under the waves of data, images and events that come to us through cell phones, the internet and television.

The signs of the times urge us to find an answer to understanding the many events, people and things that compete for our attention in the life of our families, our communities and the world. The HHS mandate and the work of the Bishops urging us to assist in the effort to rescind it, the conflicts of the world that find their way into our Church with controversies surrounding a priest's decision to deny Communion to a woman at her mother's funeral Mass, the drive to use the name "marriage" to describe styles of living that are indeed not marriage, the fight for religious freedom, the killing of Trayvon Martin, these and many other events create a sense of being sometimes overwhelmed and urge us to seek a hermeneutic key for understanding and interpreting them, making sense of them.

In the new covenant which God reveals through the Blood of His Son we have an answer. There is a new movie getting a lot of attention. "The Hunger Games" celebrates death: the death of young people who are set upon each other for the entertainment of their parents, the elders in society. The Passion of the Lord which we will follow closely in the life of the Church in these coming days is the very opposite of this: the Father gives Himself completely over to His children in the Son who make sport of Him, mock Him, and put Him to death. Through this injustice God brings perfect justice, that of Divine love, into the world through a "new" covenant: that of the Body and Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

"The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for 'the wedding-feast of the Lamb.' " (CCC 1612)

How does the new covenant in the Blood of Jesus Christ help us to interpret and understand the signs of the times?

God must be given complete freedom to save the world and, thus, any eclipsing of the freedom of His Church is a strike against the mission of the Son which comes to the world through the Church. The color of Trayvon's skin is completely irrelevant to the injustice of his death if indeed he was unarmed: he is created like every human person in the image of his Creator and God says this enough reason in itself to call for respect for the right to life and justice. The HHS mandate forces the Body of Christ to pay for moral evils such as artificial contraception, abortion and sterilization which violate the truths about human dignity revealed by the Divine Person Jesus Christ in the new covenant. The denial of holy Communion to manifest public and unrepentant sinners itself is a call to salvation, a medicinal application of God's law to call even Barbara Johnson and Maryland Governer Martin O'Malley and others who should be denied the Sacrament wherever they present themselves for such, as they by their own words and actions have set themselves against Jesus Christ and the Church through which He comes to us and saves us today.

And what is Jesus Christ doing now for the working out of the new covenant? In the life of the Church He continues the work of salvation as His vicar on earth, Pope Benedict XVI, reaches out in compassion and love by visiting the people of Cuba and Mexico. And they in turn are reaching out in faith to be with him as they come out in great multitudes in witness of the Faith. We are here in the house of God to keep the Lord's Day holy together in the solidarity of Faith which is the grace of the new covenant by which we work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

Our hunger for salvation is no "game". And God who is most sincere in love feeds this hunger through the new covenant with the Body and Blood of His Son Jesus Christ who is one with the Father through the Holy Spirit.

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