The covenant between God and men


When we celebrate Holy Mass, we often mention the Covenant. When Jesus lifts up the chalice, He speaks of the blood of the New and Eternal Covenant. God has a plan for His people and He wants to accomplish it. After the Exodus, in the desert, God made an alliance with His people. He promised to be an ally to men, but He asked His people to keep their promises. This covenant was sealed in blood, and blood is a symbol of life.

God’s people were not always faithful to Him. They broke the covenant, but God always remained faithful to His people and renewed the covenant. This last, decisive and permanent renewal happened in Jesus Christ who made the New Covenant in His blood, who sacrificed Himself and replaced all the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Covenant. Therefore, whenever we hear the words Covenant, New Covenant, Blood of the Covenant, Eternal Covenant – we know that they are deeply connected to the experience of the people of Israel. This experience is transmitted to the new People of God. Let us read a passage from the Book of Exodus:

And He said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship afar off. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And He did not lay His hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tables of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses rose with his servant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Tarry here for us, until we come to you again; and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a cause, let him go to them.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. And Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Ex 24:1-18)


(Barbarić, Slavko. 2018. Celebrate Mass with the heart.)

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