A Story of Two Covenants
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi
Passover pt. 1
3 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 that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. 7 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.’ 8 Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, ‘See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’ – Exodus24:3-8 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
Insight One: Being the Year of Grace – I want to point out that in the events upon Mt. Sinai we can extrapolate the overwhelming love of God shown to His people. It is not enough to set one free but rather to give freedom with responsibility which shapes character and builts a morally just person. Thus, in this love, God is seen molding His people through Moses and giving them a first (Exodus 19-23) and even second opportunity, (Exodus 24) to get it right – so that the words spoken would have depth of purpose and a resounding historical meaning that which cements the foundational convenient, that by all accounts is God showing mankind absolute grace! As for the Israelites, they were literally, “taking on the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Berachot 2, 2).
Reflection One: Moses acting as the intermediary consecrated the people, forming a covenant with God, and delivers laws to the Israelites that will set them apart from every other nation on earth. The laws Moses reads from the BOOK OF THE COVENANT , covered many topics which included;
- The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21)
- Laws Concerning the Altar (Exodus 20:22-26)
- Laws Concerning Slaves (Exodus 21:1-11)
- Laws Concerning Violence (Exodus 21:12-27)
- Laws Concerning Property (Exodus 21:28-36)
- Laws Concerning Restitution (Exodus 22:1-15)
- Laws Concerning Social & Religious Matters (Exodus 22:16-31)
- Laws Concerning the Justice for All (Exodus 23:1-9)
- Laws Concerning the Sabbatical Year & Sabbath (Exodus 23:10-19)
Before we go any further let’s look at the underlying symbology which is repeated later with Jesus and the New Covenant;
‘Words of the Covenant’ – Passover Night
– Moses reaches Mt. Sinai where God delivers His divine word and promise that if the Israelites obey they will be God’s Priestly Kingdom. (Exodus 19:1-6)
– Jesus speaks the words that outline His divinity, offering a new and everlasting covenant through His sacrifice consecrated with His body and blood. (John 13-17)
‘Covenant Sacrifice Prepared’ – Passover Day
– Moses told the people what God had said, “the next day he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord.” –Exodus 24:3-8
– Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin who find him guilty, they send Him to Pilot who has him whipped. Still not satisfied The Jews call for Jesus’s execution. Jesus then is taken and nailed upon the cross at Calvary or Golgotha where He gives His life in payment of our sins. – John 18-19
Passover pt. 2 – 1,680 Years Later
12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; they prepared the Passover meal. – Mark 14:12-16 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
Insight Two: Jesus Christ who came as the bridge linking us back to God – the olive branch that is the intermediary between man and God. Jesus is the lamb led to slaughter and it is His blood that is shed that is at the center of God’s divine plan. Again, over time we can see God’s never failing love, His unrelenting grace for the people that He loves. Think about the blood of the oxen shed during Moses’s day which served as the cleansing and purifying force which God had accepted. Now think of how much more clean and purified are we when covered with Jesus’s body and blood. No longer do we need to sacrifice animals, for the Lord is a loving and merciful God who took all this upon Himself for us. That my friends is the essence of this solemnity that we celebrate because now that yoke of our sins has now been lifted! Amen Allaluliah!
Reflection Two: God spoke – Moses took notes – man received. Now God became man walked among us, then God spoke again. How powerful is this idea? Well, it started two world religions, saved millions from sin, and gave every living person the opportunity to know God intimately. In both covenants, God was bringing His people closer to himself. In both instances, a sacrifice was required and laws had to be given for man to be molded into a better more purified version of himself. I find it ironic that Jesus during His ministry confronted the Pharisees on many different occasions and each time He showed a higher level of mastery over the first covenant laws than did they. In many ways, this goes to show the corruptness of Gods first set of laws by man given by Moses as the intermediary. So God became man to straighten the path back to Himself through the intermediary of His Son Jesus Christ – the High Preist for All Time! We give thanks because of this grace, love, and a symbol of Gods commitment that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit has shown to us.
Through Christ All Things Are Possible!
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’ – Mark 14:22-26 (NRSVACE)
Reflection Two Cont: So now instead of the flesh of animals that had been sacrificed we have Jesus – the bread of life, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Instead of the blood of animals, we now have the blood of Christ, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’ In this Jesus concentrates his disciples as the new priesthood – spelling the fall of the Pharisees and giving rise to our modern day Papacy starting with Saint Peter. In this Jesus is the more perfect mediator, delivering a more perfect covenant. – Hebrews 8:6-8 (NRSVACE)
During the institution of the new covenant throughout His ministry, Jesus makes clear God’s new commandment, 34 ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.’ – John 13:34-35 (NRSVACE)
What Jesus Becomes:
- Our Sacrifice (Matthew 26:45-50)
- Our New Temple (Matthew 27:51)
- Our High Priest (Matthew 28:18-20)
Jesus gives purpose to the New Covenant
You’re the Witnesses
44 Then Jesus said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.” 45-49 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.” – Luke 24:44-49 The Message (MSG)
Final Thoughts: In the fulfillment of the scriptures Jesus hands it all over to man – like a teacher in the classroom who has given the instruction. Jesus sets the limits (The Rules), then models each concept (Guided Practice), then letting the students at it to do it themselves (The Release). This is how Jesus taught, instructing, modeling, then giving it over for man to emulate. Jesus serves ultimately as the perfect example of God’s grace and love and in that each Sunday we are given the opportunity to participate in His body and blood through the Holy Eucharist – Corpus Christi.
Let Us Pray
The shorter form of the sequence
Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
see the children’s bread from heaven,
which on dogs may not be spent.
Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
manna to the fathers sent.
Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.
You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be.
NEED HELP OR ENCOURAGEMENT?
If you would like to receive ongoing encouragement, to help you stay focused, and/or need some guidance in where to look for motivational scriptures in the bible then feel free to email me at email@example.com with your request. Remember your never alone.
May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’
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