God spoke to Noah and his sons, ‘See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you: no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.’
God said, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh.’
1 Peter 3:18-22
Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that ark which saved only a small group of eight people ‘by water’, and when God was still waiting patiently, that these spirits refused to believe. That water is a type of the baptism which saves you now, and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand, now that he has made the angels and Dominations and Powers his subjects.
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
I establish my Covenant with you
Any agreement or memorandum of understanding would typically have a ‘termination clause’ – a clause that would allow either party to terminate the agreement, should there be a breach of contract, within a certain number of days.
When God establishes his Covenant with Noah and his sons, there is no termination clause. Simply because His agreement with us is forever, in spite of our failings and the countless number of times we are in breach of the contact. Such a situation would never be possible in business because all parties to an agreement need to protect themselves.
However, knowing full well how we will betray Him, sin against Him, and even put His only Son to death, our Father does not think twice. That is how much He loves us – unconditionally. Leading up to this season of Lent, I myself have been asked to ‘love’, yet have been chastised and taken for granted; to the point where I have decided to ‘terminate’ the services of someone.
It was a difficult decision for me to make but throughout the process, I kept telling myself that I had to do it for the good of my team. And when the day came, I felt that I had been justified and had done all I could to help the other party understand the situation. Thankfully, he expressed his gratitude for all that I had been trying to do over the past 6 months or so and we have come to an amicable solution.
Brothers and sisters, it is never easy opening our hearts to others as we risk being hurt or taken for granted. Our God did it right from the beginning and continues to accept all our faults, failings and sinful ways. We, on the other hand, set conditions on others in order to protect ourselves because at some point, we need to ‘be cruel in order to be kind’. I still struggle with this idea and wonder at what point does ‘looking after myself’ take precedence over ‘love your neighbour’; because I certainly do not have the heart of Jesus.
This Lenten season, as we discern what we are going to give up, let us really look deep within ourselves and see where we have truly fallen, where we continue to hurt God. And make a new covenant with Him to give up our sinful ways.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Abba Father, give us the conviction and desire to give up our sinful ways in order to truly live out the Covenant you have made with us.
Thanksgiving: We thank you Father, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Help us to reconcile with you and with our loved ones.