February 22, 2015

Message for Sunday, February 22, 2015: Lent Series: Week 1

All the readings together
1st Reading: Genesis 9:8-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2nd Reading: 1st Peter 3:18-22
Gospel: Mark 1:12-15

No. 1. In today’s first reading: God establishes the covenant with Noah. God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood;
— Genesis 9:8-15 (First reading today, first Sunday of Lent, year B)

No. 2. What is a covenant?
> Sacred family bond between persons
> Usually sealed by an oath and/or sacrifice

No. 3. What does it mean?
> Bond: The covenant is a bond. It unites the parties involved in some way; usually in a permanent (or quasi-permanent) fashion.
> Family: The covenant is a family bond;  the bond created is not only legal or economic ... rather, it establishes the parties involved as kin.
> Sacred: The covenant is a “sacred” family bond, because it involves God; sealed with an oath, invoking the divine name or power of God; sealed with sacrifice: blood sacrifice or burnt offering

No. 4. Covenant or contract?
> Contract: Not necessarily sacred; it involves promises rather than oaths
> Contract: Not necessarily familial; exchange of goods rather than of persons
Contract: Not necessarily permanent; temporary relations can be broken

No. 5. Covenants in the Old Testament
> Covenant with Adam and Eve: covenant with a couple; sign of the covenant was the Sabbath
> Covenant with Noah: covenant with a family; sign of the covenant was the rainbow
> Covenant with Abraham: covenant with a tribe; sign of the covenant was circumcision
> Covenant with Moses: covenant with a nation; sign of the covenant was the Ten Commandments
> Covenant with David: covenant with a kingdom; sign of the covenant was the throne and Temple (built by Solomon)

No. 6. God speaks to a people, not just a person
“While Israel was encamped there in front of the mountain, Moses went up to the mountain of God. Then the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying: ... Now, if you obey me completely and keep my covenant, you will be my treasured possession among all peoples, though all the earth is mine. You will be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites. ... Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow ... for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. ... Then Moses came down from the mountain [and] said, “Be ready for the third day.”
— Exodus 19:2b, 3a, 5-6, 10-11,14-15

No. 7. Moses’ first trip: God teaches his people how to live
> Exodus 20:1-17 > The 10 commandments
> Exodus 21 > How to live
> Exodus 22 > How to live
> Exodus 23 > How to live

“When Moses came to the people and related all the words of the Lord, they all answered with one voice, ‘We will do everything that the Lord has told us.’”
— Exodus 24:3

No. 8. Now that I’ve taught you how to live ... let me teach you how to worship
> Exodus 25 > The Ark of the Covenant, items for the “meeting tent”
> Exodus 26 > Items for the “meeting tent”
> Exodus 27 > Items for the “meeting tent”
> Exodus 28 > The priesthood, the vestments
> Exodus 29 > The priesthood and sacrifice
> Exodus 30 > Items for worship
> Exodus 31 > Sabbath laws

No. 9. Wonder what the others are up to
“When the people saw that Moses was delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for that man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has  happened to him.” Aaron replied, “Take off the golden earrings that your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He received their offering, and fashioning it with a tool, made a molten calf. Then they cried out, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Early the next day the people sacrificed burnt offerings and brought communion sacrifices. Then they sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.”
— Exodus 32:1-6

No. 10. What do we learn from the story?
God is the one who determines how we worship Him, not us. We don’t determine how we worship God, God does.

Recorded Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015