Covenant Conclusions

We are people of the covenant – people whom God has chosen – people for whom God is willing to give up God’s own life – people who have been stained with the blood of the covenant – people who have committed themselves to an everlasting covenant – people on whose hearts God has written God’s promises – people whose sins are remembered no more – people brought back when we have wandered away – people who are united as one flock, one family – people redeemed once and for all by the new high priest, Jesus the Christ – people whose salvation was purchased not by silver or gold, but by the precious blood of Jesus – people who have washed their robes and made the white in the blood of the Lamb – people who drink the cup of Christ’s blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant.

When I was young and not so bright, I thought I had to do something to deserve salvation. I bought into the heresy of Jansenism. I believed that I was not good enough for God. I couldn’t image that God would choose me, save me, forgive me, love me for no other reason than that God chose, saved, forgave and loved me. I thought that I had to do something extraordinary in order to deserve God’s love and mercy. As I came to know God more deeply, as I reflected on the Word of God, as I learned more and more about the spirituality of the Precious Blood, I came to know that I and we are all saved by pure and undeserved grace. “God so loved us that God sent the Son not to condemn the world by that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).

It was easy for me to believe that I was not good enough. I had heard that message so many times, especially once I had failed the third grade. Almost everyone around me constantly reminded me that I was a failure. Then, after sixth grade, my family moved to another neighborhood, a new parish and a new school. Then I met people who did not know my past failures. I met people who gave me a second chance. In particular, I met Precious Blood priests and sisters who did not look upon me with pity, but who opened up for me a new possibility. Whether they knew it or not, their kindness welcomed me into the covenant, gave me hope, and enabled me to believe in a God who loved me, not for what I had or had not done, but just because I was.

All of us are people of the covenant, not because we have been faithful, but because God is faithful, not because we are good, but because God is good, not because we have a personal relationship with God, but because God has a personal relationship with us. We are people of the covenant because God scatters blessings not only on those who show promise, but on everyone (see the parable of the sower and the seed [Matthew 13:3-9]).

The Good News of Jesus Christ can thus be summarized quite simply – we are the people of the covenant, the covenant between God and all of humanity, the covenant of love for all creation, now and forever.

When I lived in Orlando, the priests did not live in a rectory. We lived in a house much like the other houses in our neighborhood. There was no sign that our house Was any different from anyone else’s. So one afternoon, as I was napping, someone came to the front door. They asked me one very simple question, “Have you been saved?” It was a question I had heard before from evangelical Christians who were trying to spread the good news. But I was in no mood to debate with them on that particular Sunday afternoon. So I answered quite simply, “Yes. It happened about 2000 year ago, and I had nothing to do with is.” Then I shut the door and returned to my napping.

I’ve heard on numerous occasions that we are saved by our personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The covenant God has with us is kind of one sided. God puts in all the effort. God is always faithful to the covenant, even when I am or we are not. Salvation does not depend on my side of the agreement or my side of the relationship. Salvation depends only on the grace of God. That does not excuse us from doing anything. In fact. It calls us to do even more. It calls us to a life of gratitude, of praise and thanksgiving for all that God has done for us.

What I am called to do by the covenant is not to earn anything, but to respond to what I have been given with faithfulness to God because of God’s faithfulness to me. God’s faithfulness does not require my faithfulness, it inspires it; it makes it possible.