"It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram." —Genesis 15:18
God made many covenants with His people. Jeremiah prophesied that these covenants would be fulfilled in a new covenant (Jer 31:31). At the Last Supper, Jesus announced a new covenant in His blood (Mt 26:28). Then Jesus made this covenant by His death on the cross. When we are baptized into Jesus and His death, we enter into the new covenant (Rm 6:3).
Because God's old covenant with Abraham prefigures our new covenant in Christ, we can understand our covenant better by looking at the covenant with Abraham. The ceremony initiating the covenant with Abraham began with the slaughtering of five animals (Gn 15:9). The larger animals were split in two, and the two parts were placed opposite one another to form an aisle (Gn 15:10). Then the power of darkness enveloped Abraham, as he fought off birds of prey swooping down on the carcasses of the slaughtered animals (Gn 15:11-12). After this, God, symbolized by "a smoking brazier and a flaming torch," walked down the aisle framed by the split carcasses (Gn 15:17).
The covenant with Abraham illustrates that God's covenant entails sacrificial death, spiritual warfare against the prince of darkness (see Eph 6:12), and a commitment to be faithful to the covenant or be killed (see Jer 34:18). Live your baptismal covenant.
Prayer: Father, I will celebrate my baptismal anniversary with great joy.
Promise: "He remembers forever His covenant." —Ps 105:8
Praise: St. Cyril rejoiced in suffering for Christ when he was falsely accused of heresy and imprisoned (see 1 Pt 4:13-16).
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 4, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 24, 2001
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