Archive for June 1st, 2018

Deuteronomy 5-8The Covenant – Part I  

To learn more about the Old and New Covenants, and how they relate to one another, click on this image.

Friday, June 1, 2018

We explore a few Favorites as we consider that Christ is The Life we hope to live. 

Spend some time with the book of Deuteronomy if the hours appear for you this week-end.  It is a beautiful story that retraces the Hebrews desert path, but in a more lyrical style than the Book of Exodus.  From the Deuteronomy introduction in the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE page 187: “Moses presents the theme of covenant renewal in a vital religious framework”.  The book itself has a “covenant structure” in this way – it has six parts which are typical of an ancient covenant: 1) a preamble which identifies the king who offers the treaty, 2) a historical prologue listing the gracious deeds of the lesser king, 3) the legal stipulations binding on the lesser king or vassal, 4) the provisions for public reading of the agreement, 5) the list of gods who witness the treaty and 6) the curses and blessings that fall on those who keep or break the covenant.  (Senior, Readers’ Guide, 107)  There is much more in this essay that makes the reading of this book come alive, but what is most important here is the fact that the people of the time saw this agreement as a binding treaty with their creator . . . and they took great solace in knowing that this treaty was in place.

So may we today, for Jesus came as a fulfillment of this treaty.

In chapters 5-8, the law is laid out and, if we are able, we will want to pay special attention to chapter 8 because here God’s expectations of us are clear. We also find what we might expect of God if we fail to worship God alone; it we fail to put aside all other idols.  The curses as well as the blessings are always listed in a covenant.

We live in a relativistic culture today in which we hear the constant drumbeat that we are free to choose how we live. And this may be true.  We hear the insistent message that the purpose of religion is to make us feel good; but those who speak this message leave out a vital part of the covenant treaty.  It is true that salvation, redemption and restoration are open to all.  Jesus comes to tell us that his salvific act is intended to be universal . . . all may be saved.  But today’s “feel good” society wants us to believe that there are no consequences for our actions as long as we can convince ourselves that “we mean well,” or “Jesus is merciful and forgives all”.  This kind of thinking erases the idea of justice from God’s nature and the expression of God’s love to us. Yes, God’s love is merciful, and God is just.

Tomorrow, Christ demonstrates how we are to live this merciful justice – and this just mercy – in the promised land . . . for this is life in Christ.

From a reflection written on August 25, 2007.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.187 & RG 107. Print.   

Learn more about the Old and New Covenants by clicking on the image from: https://actheologian.com/2016/04/25/old-vs-new-covenant/ 

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