Monday, November 28, 2005

The Messiah as Covenant

"I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people."
Isaiah 49:8

Here, God speaks again, presumbly to Cyrus, the Persian king who defeated Babylon in the late 6th century BC. Part of Cyrus' policy was the resettling of exiles who had been dispersed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. His policy clearly at least won him the admiration of the Jews who were allowed to return to Palestine.

What does it mean, though, for a man to be a 'covenant'?

A covenant or constitution is, for most of us, an abstraction and not a concrete thing (unless one thinks of the U.S. Constitution as the original parhcment on which it is written). A covenant is an exchange of words of promise between two parties, that both will be bound to one another. Can a man be a 'word' or mutual promise?

The answer, from the Christian perspective is 'yes'. Jesus Christ is God's Word who, in taking flesh, embodies God's promise to be bound to humankind. That Jesus went 'all the way' with us even to death is a demonstration of God's fidelilty. At the same time, Jesus is a man, and so by His sinlessness and utter obedience to God the Father, embodies the covenant from our human perspective.

What remains for us is to accept God's covenant who is Christ, to live in Him and strive to conform ourselves to His holiness, faithfulness, obedience and love.

Peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr. Peter

P.S. As always, I invite you to visit the website of the Benedictines of Chicago.

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