God created a covenant with Noah and his family. Then he drew Abraham and his tribe into the covenant, Moses and the nation of Israel, and David and the Kingdom of Israel. You can see that this is building towards something really big; it is building towards Jesus Christ. This is why the Bible is divided into two halves. The first half is known as the Old Testament. Testament means witness, but it is also an older term for Covenant. The second half is known as the New Testament. The key moment that begins the New Testament is the announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the fulfillment of every promise through all the covenants. He is the source of universal blessing promised to Abraham. He is the beloved son who will be sacrificed on a mountain. He is the lamb of Passover that saves His people from death. He is the Son of David who sits on a royal throne forever, whose kingdom will never be destroyed. He sets up the 12 Apostles as the new 12 tribes of Israel. These Apostles receive the gift of the Eucharist at the Last Supper and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They are the original Bishops. They lay hands on other men to succeed them, who lay hands on other men, who lay hands on other men, all the way down to our day. It is not the case that the salvation won by Christ is available only to Catholics. Rather the church is called to be a witness to God’s enduring love. We are called from every nation and language and invited to be a holy people, God’s faithful people, so that all the world can have a visible sign of God’s faithfulness to us.
The covenant shows us that God is worth more: more than descendants, more than power, more than riches, more than honor. The great covenant fathers put their faith in God and through their obedience learned that God keeps his promise. All of this was pointing to Jesus our Lord, savior, and sacrifice. The covenant shows us God’s faithfulness; now we must show God’s faithfulness to the world.
Yours in Christ, -Fr. Joel