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The Gospel Before the Gospel

August 12, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014; Eighteenth Thursday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 31:31-34.  The days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and I will remember their sin no more.

Matthew 16:13-23.  You are Peter, I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.


Gospel Reflection:

Praised be Jesus Christ! For evermore!

We have been walking with the prophet Jeremiah for more than two weeks now.  He has presented the people Judah with dire Oracles, all of which were raw and personal convictions, condemning the nation as a whole for their corruption and infidelity.  And in 587 BC, having prophesied for forty-five years, Jerusalem was destroyed, and Babylon took her exiles.  But then, Jeremiah prophesied something remarkable.  It is The New Covenant.  In fact it is the only time New Covenant is used in the Old Testament.  It is called the Gospel before the Gospel.  These short passages sum up all of what Jeremiah’s teaching was about:  The days are coming when I will make a new covenant… I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be my people.  No longer will we need priests, prophets, or even Moses.  The law, the covenant – which was repeatedly broken – won’t be etched upon cold, stone tablets, but upon the hearts of Man.  Not just Jew, but Gentile also.  All mankind.  And we talk about that, right?  The second Vatican Council, how God, the Creator, is imprinted upon the hearts of all man?  Holy Cross Father, Guy Couturier, writes, “For [Jeremiah], God is one who knows the interior of man, a ‘searcher of mind and heart’, and asks for its purification; the heart must be circumcised.  In a word, the primacy of interior values, such as obedience, love, knowledge of God, is the condition required for a true practice of religion.

I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts

We look around today, and we see truly horrific things in the news – and in greater frequency – and we ask ourselves, “when will all of this end?”  We need only to turn to Jeremiah’s calm, and to know, love, and obey God, in our core being, and offer up that circumcision of heart – that last bit of sacrifice – to receive His ultimate forgiveness.  It will be scary, as Jeremiah was not exactly light-hearted in his Prophesies.

In Matthew today, something truly remarkable happens.  Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  And in typical Pharisaical teachings of the day, they answer fairly typically, with an unknowing “John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the Prophets.  But the reveal made to Peter, by God, is that it is time.  Everything is different, everything has been made new.  “I will be their God, and they shall be my people… All, from the least to the greatest shall know me.”  A new covenant is being made.  THAT is why Simon bar-Jonah becomes Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church – a Church that will teach though the millennia faithfully, about obedience, and love, and knowledge of God.  That is why we have a Lord that has made all things new.  In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.




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