It’s Lent—and your covenant is “up for renewal.” A covenant is an agreement that binds two parties. In today’s First Reading from Genesis, we hear of the agreement God makes with Noah never again to destroy the earth by water. In return, Noah and his family were to populate the earth.
In every Mass during the Eucharistic Prayer we hear Christ’s words, “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant….” In Christ, the ancient relationship between God and humankind has taken on a human face.
Why do I say Lent is a time to renew your covenant? Well, in centuries past, Lent was observed as a time of penance. With the renewal of the catechumenate—the process of becoming a Christian—the Church now sees Lent as a time of preparation for those to be baptized at Easter, and a time of renewal of baptism for all the rest of us. The Lenten penances we choose—and they’re still appropriate—are signs of “covenant renewal,” our pledge to deepen our commitment of love and service.
In Mark’s Gospel this Sunday, Jesus calls us to that kind of repentance and renewal. In the Lenten Sunday readings this year, listen for the theme of “covenant.” In these weekly reflections, I’ll be pointing out the “covenant connection” from each Sunday’s Scriptures.
Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org.