Scripture Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11 (read it here)
If Paul felt that his ministry among the Corinthians was a personal success, he hastened to insist that whatever he has done is not his own work but the work of God.
It is God who has made him adequate for that task. Paul could not say, “See what I have done!” He always said, “I am only God’s instrument. To God be the glory!” He never conceived of himself as adequate for any responsibility; he thought of God as making him adequate.
That is precisely why, conscious as he was of his own weakness, Paul did not fear to set his hand to any endeavor, because he knew that he never had to do it alone, but he did it with God.
In the second part of today’s passage, Paul deals with the contrast between the old and the new covenant. A covenant means an arrangement made between two people through which they enter a certain relationship.
It is not, in biblical usage, an ordinary agreement, because the contracting parties do not enter an ordinary agreement on equal terms. But in the biblical sense of covenant, it is God who is the prime mover and approaches us to offer us a relationship upon conditions which we could neither initiate nor alter, but only accept or reject.
The covenant given by God at Sinai was a great gift to the people, shaped their behavior, and showed them how to live as God’s people.
But the new covenant offered us in Christ is even more glorious. First, it is a relationship of love. It came into being because God so loved the world to send Jesus to us. Second, it is a relationship between a father and his sons. We are no longer considered criminals in default, but sons of God, even if disobedient sons.
This changes our life, not by imposing a new code of laws on us, but by changing our heart. Therefore, it not only tells us what to do, but gives us the strength to do it. In other words, with its commandments God also gives us the power to obey them.
The old covenant stipulated between God and his people at Sinai was born in glory. When Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments—which are the code of the old covenant—his face shone with such a splendor that no one could look at it. Obviously, that was a transient splendor. It did not and could not last.
The new covenant, the new relationship that Jesus Christ makes possible is between us and God and has a splendor that will never fade because it produces pardon and not condemnation, life and not death.
In the Eucharist we celebrate the new and everlasting covenant in Christ’s blood. In it, God commits himself to be a faithful God and expects the same from us, his people.
Let us be led, shaped, and inspired by God’s eternal fidelity, despite our infidelities.
Inspired by Mary, let us joyously thank and accept God’s covenant in Jesus’ blood.
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Que la palabra de Cristo habite y se sienta a gusto en ustedes (Col. 3:16)
Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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