(May 2)

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” (Mt 26:26-28)

When at the Mystical Supper Christ speaks of His blood of the “new” covenant, it makes me think of one of the “other” covenants, the one God announced to Abraham. How does that older “covenant” (berit in Hebrew and diatheke in Greek, defined as “self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which [God] entered into relationship with man”) compare with the “new” one?

The covenant with Abraham involved the promise of land and of many descendants; and the “sign” of this covenant was the circumcision “in the flesh of the foreskins” of all the male children born in Abraham’s “house” and of his male descendants (Gen 17). Our Lord’s “new” covenant, on the other hand, did not involve the promise of land or of abundant procreation, nor did it involve the shedding of anyone’s blood but His own. The sign of Christ’s “new” covenant was His blood, shed on the (sign of the) Cross. All of us, not only males, are invited to participate in this life-creating Sign, as we become “clothed in Christ” in Holy Baptism and have communion with Him, as we eat and drink of His Body and Blood at every Eucharist, and accept the challenge of walking His cross-carrying journey.

Alongside this “new” covenant, at His Mystical Supper our Lord also challenges us with a “new” commandment: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13: 34-35)

Thank You, Lord, for offering all of us, both male and female, a place at Your supper, and for calling us all to a new kind of birth and birth-giving; not of the flesh but of the Spirit, and not of the Law but of love.