In the first reading today God makes a covenant with Abraham. This covenant is a sacred contract between God and his servant, Abraham. God promises to make Abraham the father of many nations, to bless him with offspring and to give him the land of Canaan as a permanent possession. God takes initiative with Abraham which he had not done with any other people.
In turn Abraham and his tribe are expected to serve the one true God and to turn away from false idols. The covenant applies to Abraham’s children and all his descendants. God says, “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant through all the ages.” The sign of the covenant is a rainbow in the sky. Whenever we see a rainbow we should recall God’s covenant with his people. Our Jewish brethren who follow the Torah and are faithful to this covenant are still considered God’s people.
God made a covenant with you and me when we were baptized. We were washed clean of all sin and became members of the Body of Christ, the new people of God. This relationship with God is nurtured by our life of prayer and by receiving the sacraments of the Church. The more we are open to God’s graces in our lives, the more we become persons of love like his Son, Jesus.
We renew our covenant with God when we gather for Eucharist. Upon entering a church, we make the sign of the cross using holy water, a reminder of our baptism. We genuflect or bow to the awesome presence of God in the tabernacle. At the penitential rite we ask forgiveness of our sins that we might be more worthy to receive his gifts. Then we are attentive to the readings and prayers of the Mass that unfold God’s love for us. Everything we hear and see remind us that we belong to God and God belongs to us.
Holy Communion is the apex of our union with Jesus. The Lord and Savior of the world dwells in us and we become like little tabernacles for a short time. The all holy God makes his home within us. What a tremendous privilege we have! Little by little we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. We are responding to the call to be holy as God is holy.
Fr. Michael Salvagna, CP