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Sunday, March 16, 1997

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5th Sunday of Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51
Hebrews 5:7-9
John 12:20-33

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"the blood of the covenant" (mt 26:28)

"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant." —Jeremiah 31:31

God, Who is Love (1 Jn 4:16), wants to love us in a permanent, faithful relationship, which is similar to marriage, only better. As married couples make a covenant with each other by exchanging marriage vows, so the Lord made covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all His chosen people. The problem with these covenants was that God's people broke them all (Jer 31:32). Human beings seem incapable of keeping a covenant with God, incapable of loving God faithfully. Therefore, God promised to make a new covenant. He said: "I will place My law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jer 31:33). We will be able to keep this covenant because God will place it inside us and write it on our hearts. This means that God will give us a new nature, one capable of love and faithfulness.

Jesus gave us this new nature and new covenant by His death on the cross (see Mt 26:28). We receive our new nature and covenant by being born again of water and the Spirit (Jn 3:5), by being baptized into Jesus and into His death and resurrection (Rm 6:3). By faith, we live according to our new nature and in the new covenant.

Two weeks from today, you will be asked to renew your baptismal promises. You will be asked to decide if you will live a life of covenant love. What will you decide?

Prayer:  Father, may my life be like a grain of wheat which falls to the earth and dies to bear much fruit (Jn 12:24).

Promise:  "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:8-9

Praise:  Praise and honor to the crucified and risen Covenant-Maker!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996